Definition of "Waiver"

Joel  Humphreys real estate agent
Joel Humphreys, Real Estate Agent NextHome New River Valley

Typically, a waiver means remission or giving up on a particular claim. You can find the term waiver widely used in real life, finance, and real estate terminology.

How do waivers work?

A waiver is a written, deliberate, voluntary, and legally-binding surrendering of demand or right created in a contractual agreement or surrounding circumstances. In other words, a party relinquishes its legal right to act upon a claim. Consequently, the other party can’t be held liable for further claims. Besides, the party signing the waiver can’t pursue additional legal actions.

Real-life examples for a waiver

To better grasp what a waiver implies, let’s see an example. A lender waives their right to receive a $10,000 monthly payment on June 30. Subsequently, they agree to delay receipt of such fee for one month. 

Another example is when a bank waives its right to foreclosure on a property. The latter party settles with compensation or benefit to sign the document.

In everyday discourse, you can encounter the term of lien waiver, waiving parental rights, and disclaimers of liability. The latter features people participating in extreme sports or film stunts. They recognize the dangers their activity implies, thus releasing the company from future liabilities in charge of said activity.

What is the definition of a waiver in real estate?

A property contract usually involves real estate contingencies referring to home inspection and financing. Both parties agree and sign the terms and conditions if everything is in order. Then, they can also consider signing a waiver. A waiver means that the property purchaser or lessee is entirely pleased with present conditions and is willing to waive further claims. 


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A real estate owner searching for a renter or buyer can renounce a house inspection. Then, said party signs a waiver certifying their decision. The other party can also sign the same disclaimer. Thus they refrain from any future claims regarding house issues. Note, however, that a thorough home inspection would have brought to light these home-related defects otherwise. Subsequently, the waiver absolves the seller from any possible accountability.

What does an appraisal waiver mean?

Similar to renouncing a home inspection, an appraisal waiver forgoes home appraisal. The appraisal waiver can significantly cut down the duration of a mortgage evaluation process. However, buyers must qualify for such a waiver based on an exceptional credit score. Once they receive it, they don’t have to be present at the appraisal in person. 

Moneylenders and mortgage insurers will instead rely on an automated underwriting system to define the asset’s value to be sold based on neighborhood home values. Therefore, buyers can save time and money otherwise spent on home appraisals. 

Only the mortgage institution can issue such a waiver. Mortgage lenders can decide to waive a private appraisal if they have recently calculated the property’s market value.

What does a waiver mean in insurance?

Insurance people also use waivers. An insured party relies on an insurance agent’s statements concerning coverages under an insurance policy. By their actions, agents can waive specific provisions the insurance company has established in the insurance policy and under the company’s authority.

A second example is a provision in the homeowner’s insurance policy that suspends coverage in the case the insured party contributes, through their actions, to a growing hazard to which the property is exposed. Nevertheless, suppose that said insurance beneficiary stores explosives near the family home and notifies the insurance company about their actions. The insurance company grants permission to do so. The institution waives its defense in the hazard clause as a direct consequence.

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