Home Inspections With a Time Limit | Heed with Speed

Home Inspections With a Time Limit | Heed with Speed


Time is of the essence as it applies to home inspections in RI home purchase and sale contracts on properties that reach agreement between the home sellers and buyers.  This is a clause that many real estate agents fail to heed for their clients even though it is a bolded clause on the standard RI purchase and sales agreement.  What does this mean?  Home inspections have a time limit that needs to be met by both parties involved in a RI real estate sale.
Home Inspections With a Time Limit | Heed with Speed
In RI, the real estate agent does the purchase and sales contract not the attorney.  I know this is different in many states.  Not so in Rhode Island… the attorney usually reviews the purchase and sales contract after the good faith offer has been made by the buyers to the sellers and the contract signed.  
Home Inspections in 10 days
So there is a need for speed in starting and finishing the home inspection process by the buyers, requesting repairs on the property ( if appropriate), and then for the sellers to agree to the repair requested items and respond to the buyers.

All home inspections must be done within 10 business days of the last date of signing of the purchase and sales agreement.

During this time period the inspections are done at the buyer’s expense and it is their choice of home inspection companies.  When you are doing multiple types of inspections, coordinating all vendors, doing the appropriate testing and getting the results of the testing back to the buyer, well it can fall outside this 10 day time limit.  In that case, time extensions between the parties must be agreed upon.
Home Inspection Tests
Let’s identify some of the home inspection tests that home buyers may do:
  •  pest (termites, carpenter ants especially),
  •  cesspool/septic/sewer, radon – in air and in water,
  •  well water testing,
  •  lead paint,
  •  physical/mechanical,
  •  hazardous substances,
  •  wetlands and
  •  flood plain.

All of these inspections may not be done by the home inspector, especially radon and well testing (what substances are you testing for determines the time frames needed).

 Wetlands checking needs to be done by the buyer’s agent or the buyer through the Town Planning department if that is a concern.


Flood Insurance 


Since the incorporation of a flood insurance addendum as part of the RI contract, it is up to the buyer to do their due diligence on whether or not the property is in a flood plain and requires flood insurance.
 An insurance company must be sought out by the buyer, within this 10 day period, and a determination whether or not the property is in a flood zone, to what extent of flood insurance coverage is needed, whether or not a flood elevation certificate is required from the seller to the buyer in order to determine the flood plain, and whether or not the buyer’s lender requires excess insurance coverage over the standard FEMA flood coverage of $250,000 on the property they are lending on.
All these inspection items make for a lot of time being spent by the buyer to ensure this is the home you really want to buy. Quantifying the costs of needed items, negotiating with the sellers in needed home repair items and getting these done prior to closing takes effort.  Now you understand a bit better why this inspection contingency clause must be heeded with speed.  It is not to be taken lightly.
My clients, whether buyers or sellers, know that in RI coastal real estate transactions, I work to ensure that all is negotiated well in home repairs and all time limits are met so that the terms of the inspection contingency clause are met.
A buyer can terminate the sales contract for a number of reasons within the 10 day home inspection time period for the following reasons:
  • buyer does not like the results from the home inspection, for any reason
  • buyer and seller have not reached agreement on repair items to the buyer’s satisfaction
  • seller has not met the inspection contingency deadline by responding to the buyer’s repair requests.  Buyer must deliver a written notice of termination to seller (or listing agent) by the inspection deadline (or extension time frame agreed on).  If this is not done the buyer forfeits his deposit and the inspection contingency is considered waived.
Buyers and sellers can agree in writing to extend the 10 day inspection deadline, also.  Knowing that end date period is so important and must be watched closely by all!
Now if the seller is really fortunate, the home buyer will initial and waive all inspections on the property.  In that case none of the above items matter to the buyer.  As a RI real estate agent in my career, I have had only one buyer who waived all inspection contingencies (against my suggestion).
Understanding the home inspection contingency clause in a purchase and sales agreement and its time limits is of utmost importance to any home buyer.
Home Inspections With a Time Limit | Heed with Speed
Ginny Lacey Gorman is your go to  Rhode Island waterfront real estate agent for southern RI real estate and beyond…knowing the geographic area, schools, happenings and important tidbits of local information. Email her at Ginny@RiHouseHunt.com to make an appointment to discuss your real estate needs.
Waterfront, oceanfront, luxury and coastal Rhode Island real estate are my specialty but all of RI is my backyard.  When you are in need of a real estate professional and specialist for your buying, selling or relocating needs and an internet savvy marketer who sells RI houses in this real estate market call Ginny at 401.529.7849 today.



  1. john barry says

    Ginny, I am purchasing a $6.4 M property on the Beach in RI coastal real estate recently upgraded into a VE-16 zone, where the seawall and first floor is at 13 feet, the basement is at 5.7 feet (negative elevation), and the incumbent insurance company suddenly decided it would not renew the excess coverage, so we can only insure 10% of the cost of the house. If 50% of the loss is lost, we cannot rebuild at that spot. We are at the 9th day of the inspection period and receiving the Engineer’s report tonight. Seller will not extend the Inspection Period one second. isn’t it common to extend when a good faith buyer has spent thousands of dollars overcoming obstacles and is almost there? Why would a seller refuse?


    • says

      The short version is the seller is fussy, has another offer, putting the screws to you, etc. but why would you buy a piece of land like that unless you are very comfortable about self insuring. That is the question I would ask with the flood plains rising there & no chance to rebuild? Call me for more discussion. thank you, Ginny Gorman