In answer to Craig’s question, when you look for property “on market” at www.SearchingSeattle.com, you will see two types of property.
The ones on which you can make an offer, that is not a “backup” offer, will show “ACTIVE”.
The others, that I have asked you to pay more attention to in my previous entry entitled USING THE INTERNET TO BUY YOUR NEW HOME, will say “OFFER STI”.
Now Craig, being a lawyer, will be the first to understand that STI (Subject To Inspection), is not necessarily about an inspection at all. It is what we might call a very broad escape hatch or an “out” clause. This “out” clause can be used for many, many reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with an inspection at all.
If a buyer makes the offer contingent on an inspection, especially if it is a 35A inspection clause and not a 35B inspection clause, they have a huge timeframe to change their mind based on many things. In fact, in parts of this country, a buyer may tie up five properties all at the same time, and cancel four “based on the inspection” as he only tied them up to have the time to consider which one he really wants to buy.
That is why our mls system internally, calls these “ACTIVE STI” vs. the public sites that call them “OFFER STI”. Sometimes the very best property on market is the one that falls out of STI status and comes back on market.
It is very important to note that you, as a buyer, should ALWAYS have an inspection, even when you do not make that inspection a contingency. The Home Inspection Addendum makes the seller responsible in some way for the results of that inspection. Sometimes you make an offer without a home inspection contingency to get a better price. The property status then goes straight to PENDING and skips the STI phase, but that does not mean you do not do an inspection. It means you are willing to lose your Earnest Money if you are not happy with the inspection.
Sometimes you can save 5% or more off the price by being the one offer without an inspection contingency, and only lose $1,000 if you want to cancel based on the inspection. But, please do not think that not having an inspection contingency means that you do not do an inspection. You still need to close on that property with full knowledge of it’s total strengths and weaknesses.