Purchase Offer With a Flu Contingency?

Real Estate Broker/Owner CalBRE# 01433049

Purchase Offer With a Flu Contingency?

My client (buyer) was supposed to have a general home inspection done today. On Monday afternoon, I received a call from the inspection company, letting me know that the inspector was down with the flu. Could we reschedule or should we hope that the inspector feels well enough when Wednesday rolls around? We rescheduled. And now we are in danger of meeting our inspection contingency deadline.

Not only did I, nor the buyer, want to be exposed to the flu, but having an inspection done today would have brought the flu into the sellers' home. The inspector touches (without washing their hands first) many items in a home that the seller will subsequently be touching later that day.

This includes:

  • Sink Faucet Handles
  • Kitchen and Bathroom Cupboard Handles
  • Oven Controls
  • Dishwasher Controls
  • Shower Controls
  • Thermostats
  • Door Handles
  • Anything in the home the inspector happens to lean on or grab

What we needed in our purchase offer was a flu contingency. We may miss our inspection contingency deadline by a day or maybe even two. But we'd rather be late than sick. And I hope the sellers feel the same way.


Posted by


Cynthia Larsen (707-332-2560) is an independent real estate referral broker in Sonoma County, California as well as a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist.

CA Broker License #01433049

Comments (30)

Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Cynthia, I've had something similar happen in the last few months but luckily, we still had some time left in our inspection period. I agree, it's better to reschedule than getting everyone else sick as well and that is, if the inspector is even able to do his job. Hope all will work out and the sellers will be glad you are considering their health and welfare. 

Feb 15, 2018 04:08 AM
Cynthia Larsen

You are right, the inspector may not have been up to par. Especially crawling under the house or going up on the roof. I'm sure all will work out.

Feb 15, 2018 05:52 AM
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By Real - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Cynthia, I just had this happen a few weeks ago - it was a first for me and my sellers happily signed the extension. All parties agreed that a 5 day extension was far better than risking the flu that's been lasting 2-3 weeks. I hope you meet the deadline but, if you need an extension hope the sellers are understanding and sign off!

Feb 15, 2018 05:18 AM
Cynthia Larsen

Good for you! It's the reasonable thing to do, who wants to get sick?

Feb 15, 2018 05:53 AM
Anna Hatridge
R Gilliam Real Estate LLC - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with R Gilliam Real Estate LLC

Great thought!  I had the flu earlier this year and it does cause a few issues with deadlines.  

Feb 15, 2018 05:58 AM
Cynthia Larsen

Worst flu year I have ever experienced!

Feb 15, 2018 06:16 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Deadlines are important, but so is not exposing people to germs, especially as we don't know the sellers health status. This is one of those times you rely on your relationships in the business, call the other agent, let them know what is going on and ask for an extension. At the same time explaining that the buyer is not playing games, but wants to protect the seller grom unnecessary germs. Good luck, hopefully the inspection goes smoothly and it can all be worked out.

Feb 15, 2018 07:24 AM
Cynthia Larsen

Thanks N&T!

Feb 15, 2018 12:59 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Cynthia

Intriguing post, but so timely given all the flu problems these days. There have been a number of real-estate related activities that have been delayed as well as issues with different vendors as a result. I think anyone would understand the need to delay due to illness, at least I hope they would. 

Hope the inspection gets done and all will proceed accordingly.


Feb 15, 2018 07:48 AM
Cynthia Larsen

Between the fires and the flu, I’ve never had so many appointments cancelled! Thanks Jeff!

Feb 15, 2018 01:07 PM
Liz and Bill Spear
Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
Transaction Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Just when you think you've heard about everything that needs to be considered, along comes something new :)

Feb 15, 2018 11:55 AM
Cynthia Larsen

I’m not sure how we can plan for any and all possibilities. We just all have to be understanding.

Feb 15, 2018 01:15 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

Amen to that. As the seller, I would not have let him in either! I would be disenfecting the whole house after an inspection regardless, but knowing he has the flu for certain...no way!

Feb 15, 2018 02:14 PM
Cynthia Larsen

I don't think our errors and omissions insurance covers this situation!

Feb 19, 2018 04:59 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I have refused a handshake to not give or get the flu, cold or ? Its subjective

Feb 15, 2018 03:09 PM
Cynthia Larsen

Yes it is subjective, but I'd rather error on the safe side.

Feb 19, 2018 04:59 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

I agree that it would be risking several peoples health by keeping a sick inspector on a deadline.

However, we must protect our consumers part of the contract.

I would not risk losing the benefit of an inspection period.

I would go for another inspector.

Feb 15, 2018 06:23 PM
Cynthia Larsen

That's exactly what we did, John. We hired another inspector, but it meant we were going up against our timeline.

Feb 19, 2018 05:00 PM
Rafi Footerman
Mid Jersey Inspections - Edison, NJ
Home Inspector, Mold Inspector, Radon and More!

I had a serious eye inection once and wore gloves during my inspections to be sure I didn't spread it.  It worked and so did I.

Feb 15, 2018 07:09 PM
Cynthia Larsen

Oh, that can't have been fun for you at all!

Feb 19, 2018 05:01 PM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

This flu is reeking havoc everywhere... best to avoid germs...wash Hands a lot and hope for the best!  we would have extended the date for the inspection but we are flexible people up here in the great white north! 

Feb 15, 2018 11:32 PM
Cynthia Larsen

Hey Debra! I would imagine you folks would have to be super flexible, given the weather and wild game.


Feb 19, 2018 05:03 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

You have to be flexible & this is one of the best reasons. Hope it works out well whenever it gets scheduled.

Feb 16, 2018 01:38 PM
Cynthia Larsen

Thanks Lyn, good to see you!

Feb 19, 2018 05:04 PM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

It is an exceptional circumstance acne but we always have a backup inspector we can call. Time is of the essence

Feb 16, 2018 02:37 PM
Cynthia Larsen

I had a back-up inspector I called right away, but we were alreay a 5 days into a 12 day inspection period. Inspectors are usually booked 1 to 2 weeks out. I feel lucky I was able to get an inspector when I did.

Feb 19, 2018 05:05 PM
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 116 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

HMMM This brings out a whole new line of thought along needed contingencies LOL. 

Apr 20, 2018 05:13 PM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe .Just Call. 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Hope things worked out well for all of you after all.

Jun 06, 2018 11:54 AM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

That is a scary thought. You are right, the home inspector handles lots of things in the home and could vastly spread germs without meaning to.

Jun 27, 2018 07:25 PM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

Amending the date...a different inspector,..avoiding the germs at all costs !

Jun 28, 2018 05:35 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Cynthia. I think most sellers would understand and extend the date given the information.

Jun 28, 2018 09:53 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

I've heard of a lot of contingencies, but a "flu contingency" would be the first.  Still stuff happens in transactions, and we often need to compensate accordingly.

Aug 06, 2019 07:19 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Hi, Cythia,

This post from over two years ago is so timely now!

Yes, we do have standard forms (plural) for the "flu" contingency...Covid 19 flu that is, as you well know as a California Realtor.


Sep 10, 2020 03:37 PM