After you sign a home purchase agreement, you get a set amount of time to inspect the property and decide if you’d like to back out of the sale, go through with it as-is, or renegotiate.
This is called the inspection period, and it’s an important part of the home-buying process.
Think of it as your last chance to make sure that you really want to buy this home.
What is the Home Inspection Period in Florida?
The home inspection period gives the buyer time to inspect the property and back out of the sale if desired.
It’s the last chance for the buyer to legally exit the contract for any reason without consequence.
In other words, it’s your last chance to change your mind about the purchase without worrying about legal or financial repercussions.
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When Does The Inspection Period Start in Florida?
You’re probably wondering, when does the inspection period start in Florida?
It’s important to understand that generally, the clock starts ticking as soon as all parties have signed the home purchase contract.
It’s also important to know how long your inspection period is.
In Florida unless otherwise specified, the default inspection period is 15 calendar days.
This is longer than the default in other states. However, this is a point of negotiation and the inspection period can last any number of days.
Here is the Typical Inspection Period Language in a Florida AS-IS Contract.
What Should You Do During the Home Inspection Period in Florida?
During the home inspection period, the buyer can schedule a home inspection for the home they’re planning to purchase.
Buyers should also spend ample time evaluating the home, the surrounding neighborhood, and their purchase decision.
Schedule an Inspection
Buyers should always schedule a home inspection so you’re aware of a home’s flaws and can make an informed decision about whether or not you’d still like to purchase the home.
You can also use what’s in the home inspection report to negotiate repairs or a price reduction prior to closing on the home.
During a general inspection, the inspector will visually inspect the:
- Exterior walls
- Interior walls and flooring
- Electrical connections and wiring
- HVAC systems
- Plumbing systems
- Kitchen Appliances
Then, they will create an inspection report, which includes their observations, repair recommendations, a list of safety issues, and a list of minor issues.
Some red-flag home inspection issues to look out for include:
- Mold infestation
- Faulty electrical systems
- Cracks in doors or windows
- Leaks in the basement or attic
- Cracks in walls
- Missing or damaged shingles on the roof
- Damage or wear on AC system, water heater, etc.
Sometimes what the home inspector finds will make you think twice about purchasing the home.
At the very least, you may want the seller to make repairs or provide a repair allowance or price reduction with the sale.
Schedule Specialized Inspections
In some cases, a general home inspector will recommend specialized or ancillary home inspections.
They might conduct these inspections, or you may need to hire a different company.
Common ancillary inspection types include:
- Asbestos inspection
- Lead-based paint inspection
- Termites and wood-destroying organisms inspection
- Radon inspection
- Mold inspection
- Septic tank inspection
- Chimney and fireplace inspection
Specialized home inspections give you more information about the home’s condition and the underlying causes of damage or issues identified during the general home inspection.
Get Insurance Quotes
Now that you’ve signed the purchase agreement, you can start shopping around for home insurance.
Starting the process during the home inspection period ensures you have plenty of time to find the right policy to fit your needs and budget before closing.
You should also check if you’ll need any special insurance, such as flood insurance.
Check Out the Local Schools
When you purchase a new home, you’re also deciding where your current (or future) kids will attend school.
Use this time to research and possibly visit the local schools. Make sure that you’re happy with the quality of education provided.
And, if you’re not happy with the public school system, consider local charter school or private school options.
Remember, during the home inspection period, you can walk away from the home purchase, even if the only reason is that you’re not happy with the schools.
Walk or Drive Around the Neighborhood
Spend some time in the neighborhood and the surrounding areas (especially if you’re relocating to a new city).
Check out where you’ll go grocery shopping, order take-out, or go to the doctor.
Find out about local parks, summer programs, or job opportunities for your teens.
Drive from the home to your workplace to get a feel for the commute.
Now is your last chance to make sure that the neighborhood is a good fit for your family.
Review Your Budget
Go over your finances to make sure that purchasing the home is still affordable.
Consider your mortgage payments, estimated utility costs, property taxes, your new salary if you’re moving to Florida for a new job, moving expenses, and insurance costs.
This is your last chance to walk away from the sale without losing money, so it’s crucial to give this step careful consideration.
Make a Decision about Purchasing the Property
Before the inspection period ends, you need to decide if you want to walk away from the sale, go through with the sale as is, or renegotiate the contract.
It helps to have a good realtor on your side during this process.
Walk Away from the Sale
Maybe you’re unhappy with the inspection report or discovered that the school district or neighborhood just isn’t the right fit for your family.
Whatever the reason, you should be able to walk away from the sale without consequence as long as you cancel the contract before the inspection period ends.
This is your last chance to walk away from the sale without losing your earnest money.
While most contracts in Florida are the same, addendums and various language can be added that change your inspection period.
Review your contract and talk with your realtor to make sure you can do so without losing your earnest money deposit.
Proceed with the Sale As-Is
Did the inspection confirm that the home is just as great as you thought it was?
If so, you can proceed with your sales contract as is.
Once the inspection period ends, the sales agreement becomes legally binding, and the home sale moves forward.
Negotiate with the Seller
After the inspection, you might decide that you’d still like to purchase the home.
However, you might want the seller to make repairs.
Your realtor should present all the repairs you would like to have made, and the seller will respond to that request.
Sellers might agree to complete all of the repairs, some of the repairs, or none of the repairs.
If the seller agrees to only some or no repairs, the buyer may get additional time to decide if they’d still like to purchase the home or walk away.
You might decide that you’d rather do the repairs yourself.
In that case, you could negotiate a lower sales price to account for the time and money you’ll need to spend to fix the house after you purchase it.
Buyers can also request home buyer credits or home warranties.
What Happens After the Home Inspection Period?
As soon as the home inspection period ends, the sales purchase agreement becomes legally binding.
The buyer can no longer back out of the home sale just because.
If you do decide to cancel the home purchase, you will lose any earnest deposit funds, which could be up to 10 percent of the purchase price, unless there are other contingencies in the contract.
FAQs about Florida Home Inspection Period
When does the inspection period start in Florida?
The inspection period starts after all parties finish signing the home purchase agreement. The default inspection period in Florida is actually 15 calendar days unless both parties agree on a different time frame.
Can I get the home inspection period extended in Florida?
You might be able to have the home inspection period extended if the seller agrees. Typically, this would only happen if your home inspection reveals a need for a specialized inspection that cannot be conducted during the previously agreed-upon time frame.
Does the home inspection period include weekends in Florida?
Yes. If the home inspection period is 10 days, that means 10 consecutive calendar days after the contract is signed by all parties. Weekends and holidays count in that number.
How long does a home inspection take in Florida?
Home inspections only take a few hours on-site to complete. However, the inspector will then need to compile their findings into a report. This can take up to four days to complete.
Can a buyer be present during home inspections in Florida?
Yes. A buyer can—and we think should—attend the home inspection. They can also bring along family, friends, and their real estate agent.