Here in the Seattle area, the buyer of a property gets to choose which Home Inspection Addendum to use, when making an offer to purchase. The primary difference between the two, lies in who has the “unilateral” POWER to keep the contract in-force or not, after the inspection.
The seller can counter by replacing the full inspection addendum with the other variety, but that is rare. I recently had an agent ask if “we wanted” to change the inspection addendum to the one that favored the seller, under the guise that another offer was coming. We decided to call her bluff, and our offer was accepted as written, there being no other offer in hand by the time ours required a response by the seller. Though she was quite surprised that we called her bluff in that regard.
The decision regarding which inspection clause to use, often has very little, if anything, to do with the inspection. It has more to do with whether or not the buyer retains the right to cancel based on the inspection.
I currently have two contracts in escrow for the same party, one on the sale of their property and one on the purchase of their next property. On their sale we have a 35B “Seller’s Opportunity to Repair” inspection addendum, giving them the power to keep their contract in force regarding the sale of their property, at least with regard to the inspection. On their purchase, we have a 35A “Buyer’s Satisfaction” inspection addendum, giving them the right to cancel based on their inspection, to counteract the “resale certificate” out, on their sale contract, since they are buying a home and selling a condo.
To understand the difference between these two addendums, you should review both inspection forms, 35A and 35B AND ALSO the followup forms 35AR and 35BR. The striking difference between the two is more noticeable on the followup form 35BR, with regard to the seller’s power given him by the buyer. If the seller checks the box on the follow up form saying he is going to repair the items, the inspection contingency is satisfied. It becomes a unilateral decision of the seller to satisfy the inspection contingency, whereas the 35A is a unilateral decision of the buyer to cancel.
Simply put, a buyer who makes an offer using a 35A “Buyer’s Satisfaction” inspection addendum, retains the right to cancel based on the inspection. On a 35B, the seller can simply check a little box, agreeing to repair the items in the report, causing the inspection addendum to be satisfied. The buyer cannot disagree with the seller’s choice and walk from the transaction, without risking the loss of their Earnest Money Deposit.
So which should you use? If their are multiple offers, you might be able to avoid a bidding war by using a 35B, which favors the seller, so you can win on terms vs. price. 35B trumps 35A and “no inspection contingency” trumps them all. I don’t recommend no inspection contingency in a blog, though often do in “real life” where I have the opportunity to view the property and ascertain my clients true needs and sensibilities.
It would be interesting to hear from anyone out there in the Seattle area who recently completed a sale, either as a buyer or seller. Which inspection contingency did you use and why? What factors led you to the decision to use a 35B vs. a 35A, or none at all?