Contingencies can benefit both buyers and sellers. Basically a contingency offers a protected period of time after an offer has been accepted for either the buyers or the sellers to investigate/inspect a property, obtain financing — mortgage contingency — sell their current property or secure their next property.

Primarily buyers add contingencies on an offer to purchase that can include the inspection of building, septic system, water and other areas as necessary. If an unacceptable condition presents itself during an inspection period, such as bacteria found in water, buyers typically look to sellers to remedy the problem. While sellers are under no obligation to remedy or credit buyers for anything that comes up under the contingency period, which is usually about a week, the rule of thumb is if a condition comes up that is of a health or safety nature, buyers look to sellers to make reparations.

However, bear in mind there is wide range of variables here and every single transaction is different. If the sellers feels they have agreed to a very fair price, they may lean toward leaving any buyer requests, whether under defined contingencies or not, to the buyers. Or if the sellers feel the buyers have made a very good offer they may be more willing to remedy requests that come up.

On the sellers’ side, they can make the sale of their home contingent on finding suitable housing — this allows them to secure their next property.

Contingencies can be drawn up in any number of ways. They are a kind of appeal from one party to the other to allow for favorable conditions on everyone’s behalf. If something comes up within the contingency period it allows all parties to pause and work toward resolution.

What we Realtors do best is to help buyers or sellers make educated decisions in both presenting and accepting an offer and the significant steps of the process thereafter.

Jean O’Neill,

William Pitt Sotheby’s

International Realty,

Northern Fairfield County Brokerage, 203-300-2332,