You may feel you are currently in a catch 22. Seller wants you to do an inspection. You do not want to pay for one until you feel comfortable seller will commit to sell to you.
Talk to the seller and explain your concern. Let them know you want to proceed but you are uncomfortable paying for an inspection without feel secure they are committing to you too.
Suggest they provide you with a contact which will be contingent upon you getting a home inspection. This will give them what they want which is a contract. And it will protect you in regard to protecting your investment of money into a home inspection.
Finally, sometimes it best to remove yourself from the transaction by retaining the proper professionals to represent your interest. The seller should do this too. If this transaction is to proceed you both will need to do this anyway. So since you seem to be at a stale mate maybe now would be a good time for you both to engage your separate attorney.
Some reasons why a seller may not want to sign a binder are:
* They may not be fully comfortable with your offer.
* They may want to go straight into contract.
* They may not be certain that this may be a valid and logical progressive step in the transaction.
* They may have already signed a binder with another party.
We can keep guessing here. So it would be helpful for seller to let you know why.
I cannot offer any more in regard as to what your options are at this point without knowing the answer myself.
However if it because they are not comfortable with your offer. Find out why and see if you can adjust it so that both you and them are equally unhappy:)
If is because they want to go straight into contract this can be okay as long as you have proper protections in place to protect your interest between now and contract signing. An attorney can advise you on this.
If it because they are uncertain as to the logical progression of the home sale and purchase a local Realtor can assist you with this.
If it because they have already signed a binder with another buyer... Well... you should have known that in advance. You can try to learn more about their current agreement to see how you can fit in.