Protection of your earnest money!
Option period begins the day after contract is fully executed by both parties. In a nutshell, you pay the seller a very small fee ($100 is the norm) for the right to terminate the contract for ANY reason within the specified number of days.
The normal option period is anywhere between 7-14 days. However the time-frame is negotiable between the parties. For the buyer, the longer your option period is the better. It is the exact opposite for the seller since they are taking their home off the market for such a small fee. During your option period is the time you want to do your inspections and negotiate any repairs.
If you decide to back out of the contract and you are WITHIN your option period time-frame…your earnest money will be refunded 100%.