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Many purchase offers today have a contingency clause which allows the buyers to have an inspector or professional expert to inspect the property. If there is a significant defect in the property, the buyer can cancel the contract without losing the earnest money deposit. Such contingencies may make a seller nervous, but they are an excellent procedure for both the buyer and the seller. The time period for inspection contingencies is negotiable. In most parts of the country, the buyers have about a week in which to cancel the contract if the structural inspection reveals a serious and consequential defect. The positive side to such contingencies--the inspection usually addresses--and overcomes--the buyers' misgivings and confirms their decision to move ahead with the purchase.