For Sale By Owner? Don’t Forget the Contingencies

Clients frequently contact FOS to discuss purchasing a home or vacation property that is for sale by owner.

Often, the parties know each other and/or simply want to avoid paying a broker’s fee. Whatever the reason, most parties will use the Wisconsin Residential Offer to Purchase form.

While the buyer likely has a good handle on deal points like price, earnest money, and what personal property (if any) is included, particular attention should be paid to the contingencies that are typically included in the contract.

One contingency that should be included in nearly every offer is the inspection contingency.

Even if the parties know each other well, a professional inspection of the property should be performed before purchasing.

Sometimes an owner is not aware of a problem or its impact—like that crack in the basement wall.

If financing is used, the buyer determines acceptable financing terms and includes them in the financing contingency.

If the buyer cannot obtain the listed terms, he or she can walk away from the deal.

Many offers have an appraisal contingency. Its timing needs to work together with the financing contingency. Otherwise, the contract may require a decision on financing before the appraisal is finished.

Your FOS lawyer can help you understand these and other contingencies in an offer to purchase.