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What to do if a seller tries to back out of a house sale?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Uncategorized

Buying a house is a major emotional and financial commitment, and finding the right home in today’s market can be very stressful.

When you finally find the right property and strike a bargain with the seller, it can feel like a huge relief. But, what happens when the seller tries to break out of the agreement? Here are some basics you should know:

Why do sellers back out?

Sellers have various reasons for wanting to back out of a house deal.

Sometimes, they get a back-door offer from another buyer for a lot more money. Sometimes they get “cold feet” about the sale and decide they just don’t want to move. Others have personal problems or sudden changes in their circumstances, such as a sudden health crisis, that makes selling and moving harder.

What are your legal options?

First, review your contract carefully to determine if you have met all the contingencies that apply to you. Check for any clauses that allow the seller to back out of the deal and see if they meet those conditions.

If you find out the seller is in violation of the contract, you can:

  • Negotiate: Sometimes you can persuade a reluctant seller to move forward through open communication and by addressing their specific concerns.
  • Terminate the contract: If you don’t want the stress and you feel like you can easily find another comparable deal, you may simply choose to end the contract and get your earnest money back.
  • Ask for monetary damages: You may have already incurred financial losses due to the anticipated move, and the seller could be required to pay. You may sue them for the cost of your temporary housing, storage fees, extra moving expenses and the difference between the cost of their property and the property you ultimately purchase.
  • Ask for specific performance: This legal remedy forces a seller to go through with a sale as agreed. This is often seen in real estate litigation because each property is so unique.

When you have a conflict with a seller over a real estate contract, legal guidance is wise.