Navigating the Inspection Contingency Period: A Guide for Home Buyers

When buying a home in Rhode Island, the standard purchase contract, as provided by the Rhode Island Association of Realtors, includes a 10 business day period for buyers to conduct inspections. The inspection period ensures you are fully informed about the property you are about to purchase and gives you the opportunity to make sure you know what you’re getting into–I own a few money pits but I knew what I was getting into and made the decision to forge ahead. But I’ve had many instances where buyer’s have decided to terminate a contract due to findings during a home inspection. While my team and I make diligent efforts to identify any red flags we see, the fact is that we’re not licensed home inspectors and we’re only able to see surface level faults. We’re not able to open up the electrical panel to see if it’s corroded and needs to be replaced, or to get into the attic to see if the lack of ventilation has caused mold to grow, or to test appliances to ensure that they’re functioning as disclosed.


I’m a firm believer that a home inspection is very important. I have a list of trusted home inspectors that I refer my clients to and trust me, just like real estate agents, contractors, accountants, and any other professional field–there are people that truly are experts and those that are not and a wide range of mediocrity in the middle. For the largest financial purchase you will make you need to demand to only work with the best of the best–those that will not steer your wrong or make mistakes that can cost you thousands of dollars. And yes, I can tell you many stories about clients who did not use my trusted inspectors and who instead used someone that their friend or relative recommended and why it did not go well.


The choice to include an inspection contingency is just that–it’s a choice and like all choices you need to be fully informed so that you can decide what works best for you. And like all contingencies that you choose to include on a contract, you need to set a specific timeframe or deadline and you can choose to make any alterations to the standard wording on the contract.

In this blog post, we’ll explore why you might consider changing the inspection period and outline different options to help you make an informed decision.

Why Alter the Inspection Period?

In a strong seller’s market, multiple buyers often compete for the same property, making it essential to present the most attractive offer possible. Sellers prefer offers with fewer contingencies or shorter timelines, as these reduce the risk of delays and increase the likelihood of a smooth transaction that gets to the closing table. By adjusting the inspection period, you can demonstrate your commitment and flexibility, potentially giving you an edge over other buyers.

Options for Adjusting the Inspection Period

Shorten the Inspection Period Reducing the standard 10 business days to a shorter period, such as 5 or even 3 business days, signals to the seller that you are serious and ready to move quickly. This can be particularly effective if you are confident in the property’s condition or have access to reliable inspectors who can accommodate a shorter timeline.

Inspection for Information Only Specify that the inspection is for information purposes only, meaning you will not request any repairs from the seller. This reassures the seller that you are not planning to negotiate based on minor issues, but still allows you to back out if significant problems are discovered.

Limited Repair Requests Agree to only request repairs if the total recommended fixes exceed a certain amount, such as $25,000, or if any single repair exceeds $5,000. This approach sets a clear threshold and shows the seller you are willing to handle minor issues yourself.

Waive Minor Repairs Offer to waive requests for minor repairs and focus only on significant issues such as structural, safety, or system failures. This can alleviate the seller’s concerns about being inundated with minor repair requests.

Specialized Inspections Limit the inspection to specific aspects of the property, such as the roof, HVAC, or foundation. This focuses on high-priority areas and can be less daunting for the seller. I’ve had clients limit inspections to satisfactory Septic inspections and/or Water Quality and Flow test.

Combination Approach Consider combining several of these strategies to create a customized inspection contingency that balances your need for due diligence with the seller’s desire for a straightforward transaction.

It’s Your Decision

Understanding and considering different options for the inspection contingency period can significantly impact your ability to secure your dream home in a competitive market. It’s essential to be fully informed about the standard provisions in the Rhode Island purchase contract and the various ways you can modify these to suit your needs and strengthen your offer.

By thoughtfully evaluating these options, I can help you to determine the best approach that aligns with your comfort level and increases your chances of success in the home-buying process. Remember, the goal is to find a balance that works for you while making your offer as attractive as possible to the seller.