This is a common question I hear from buyers, and a topic we always discuss when sitting down to write up a purchase offer on a home. The simple answer? 10 days. For real world application... Too simple.    

Section 6, line 185 of the Arizona Association of Realtors - Residential Resale Real Estate Purchase Contract states:

"Inspection Period: Buyer's Inspection Period shall be (10) days or _________ days after Contract acceptance."

So, what exactly is a "day?" Again, let's take a look at what the purchase contract says. Section 8, line 353-354 states:

"Days: All references to days in this Contract shall be construed as calendar days and a day shall begin at 12:00 a.m. and end at 11:59 p.m." 

Here's an example to help tie things together. You and your broker submit a purchase offer to a seller, and the seller accepts your offer on March 1st. March 2nd, would be day 1 of the 10 day inspection period. The inspection period would end at 11:59 p.m. on March 11th.

So why is this important? In a nutshell, the inspection period affords a buyer time to conduct all desired physical, environmental, and other types of inspections and investigations to determine the value and condition of a home. If you choose to cancel under the terms and conditions of the purchase contract, you need to pay attention to this time frame as your earnest money could be at stake.

* Disclaimer: Reference your specific purchase contract and speak to your real estate broker or real estate attorney for details. This is based off boiler plate language found in the AAR Residential Resale Real Estate Purchase Contract. Your contract may differ.