Inspection Contingency Leverage

The main reason home Sellers love multiple offers is because it bumps their price — if not over asking, then usually pretty close.

But there’s a secondary reason Sellers love multiple offers: it can result in the Buyer pulling their punches during the Inspection phase of the deal.

Inspection Issues

Once the Buyer and Seller have agreed to terms, the next step typically is for the Buyer to inspect the home.

The standard for any Seller concessions is actually pretty clear-cut: usually, it’s limited to a material item (depends on the deal, but typically at least a couple hundred dollars) that couldn’t have been discovered beforehand.

So, a forced air furnace with a cracked heat exchanger (or what looks like one) is in bounds; the dated Kitchen isn’t.

Looking Over Their Shoulder

Not all inspection issues are black-and-white, however, and how aggressively a particular Buyer pushes — and how accommodating the Seller is likely to be — can often turn on who has more leverage.

A Seller with a back-up offer (or several) in hand . . . has more leverage than their Buyer.


It’s not unheard of for some Buyers in multiple offer situations to make a preemptively high winning bid — then try to use the Inspection negotiation to recoup at least some of it.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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