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What is considered "unsatisfactory"for the purposes of the home inspection contingency clause in a

sales contract? Is it liberally interpreted? Can you cancel a sales agreement for any problems cited by a home inspector? Who decides what is unsatisfactory? If there is a refusal to return escrow money, is it then decided by the courts? What standard would they use? I live in the Philadelphia area.
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February 23 2013 - Lansdale
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While I can't answer your legal questions, I would caution you to hire a good inspector when you buy a home and be sure to ask for every defect to be repaired or if available within your mortgage restrictions that a credit be given at closing. Then negotiate WITHIN THE TIME LIMITS OF YOUR CONTRACT.  If it is an actual defect and not wear and tear you probably will be able to have it remedied or you will have the option to terminate. Where i work, your full time Philadelphia Main Line real estate agent will be able to tell you what is customarily reason enough to terminate without a fight for your deposit.
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February 27 2013
In this matter, you should be seeking  legal guidance  as even though there is no liberal interpretation in PA , it costs money to fight the issue and the Courts very rarely allow for legal fees in a Real Estate dispute.
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February 27 2013
The PA sales agreement is an enforceable contract binding on both parties.  There is no liberal interpretation by the courts.

In Pa your contract specifies a period of time for inspection contingencies - 10 days (see 13 A in your contract). More time if your agent extended.  In that time period you must complete your inspections and make a written report to the seller.  The drop dead date is calcuated from the date the contract was fully executed and runs in calendar days.

The reply to inspection allows you to select several options.  One option is to terminate the contract.  You do not have to give a reason.  Refer to paragraph 12C in your sales contract.

Should you terminate the agreement under 13B you request your escrow back.  If the seller refuses to return your deposit refer to paragraph 23B and paragraph 24.

The entire process of the sale and any occurrences are spelled out in your sales agreement.  Timing is everything.  If you failed to terminate the agreement in writing within the inspection contingency your escrow is at risk
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February 27 2013
Your contract should stipulate on what grounds you can cancel your contract. In California, the inspection contingency covers not only the home inspection report but also your research on the neighborhood, school districts, Megan's Law Database, seller's dsclosures, etc. Really any material fact that will impact how you value the property is a valid reason to cancel. Please speak with your agent or real estate attorney to confirm.
Sometimes buyers make their offers stronger by waiving their inspection contingency. Make sure that you haven't done this. Also, you should check to see if your contingencies are removed actively or passively. If they are removed passively, then on the contingency deadline the contingency is automatically removed. However, if they are removed actively, the contingency remains alive even past the deadline unless you remove it in writing. Often, REOs will have passive removal of contingencies. So if you're buying foreclosed properties, it's important to read the bank's addendums because it will supercede the contract.
With regard to refunding escrow money, this should also be determined in the contract. If the seller refuses to sign over the money, then there may be a mediation or arbitration clause. Otherwise, I would suggest you call an attorney to help you at this point.
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February 23 2013
The inspection is purchased by the buyer and its sole purpose is to confirm or deny the BUYER is satisfied with the property condition enough to move forward with the purchase. While we can provide solutions to almost any inspection discovered issues, it is entirely up to a buyer to determine what is or is not acceptable for him/her to purchase. If the offer stated an inspection contingency and the buyer withdrew on or before the date of inspection contingency, the buyer has the right to get the deposit back.
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February 23 2013

Most home inspectors will specify items that should be fixed before settlement and those that you should prepare to do maintenance on in the future. The inspector may also suggest an item be inspected by and expert; for example, if something doesn't look right with the electric, he/she may suggest it be inspected by an electrician. PA sales agreements have a certain period of time for the inspection contingency. After the inspection, you can ask the seller to make repairs, accept the house "as is" or walk away. If you ask for repairs and the seller refuses, you can still accept the house "as is" or walk away from it. In these 2 instances, the buyer usually receives the escrow money back. I say "usually" because if you cancel the contract, the seller has to sign the return of escrow as well as the buyer. If the seller refuses, you may be able to take it to mediation or you can take it to court - depends on how the contract was written. If you do nothing about the escrow, the holder of the escrow money can hold it for a year and then, unless the court dictates otherwise, will return it to the buyer. Because we have no idea what your contract states, you really should discuss this with your agent or the agent's broker. It sounds like you suspect there is going to need a lot or repairs?

I wish you good luck.

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February 23 2013
"Unsatisfactory" could mean structural, mechanical, electrical or other proplems found during the inspection.

Check to see what your options are as far as cancelling the purchase agreement. If you are dissatified with the results of the inspection, you might be able to cancel the agreement. It should be spelled out in the purchase agreement contract.

The return of the ernest money deposit should also be specified in your purchase agreement/contract. If there is a dispute and the seller refuses to return the deposit, the contract may specify arbitration, rather than a lawsuit.

Your buyers agent should be able to explain everything to you; if not, talk to your agents broker.
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February 23 2013
 
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