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What options do I have if a seller backs out of a contract?

Buying a house can be an incredibly significant experience, whether it is your first home or your tenth home. The decision to buy is not one that most people make lightly, considering the amount of time, money and energy is involved. So when you put an offer on a house and it’s accepted, you will likely feel relieved and excited.

However, these feelings can turn to frustration and anger if the seller indicates he or she would like to back out of the contract after accepting your offer. In these situations, you will want to understand your legal options for keeping the house or seeking damages.

As a buyer, you have a few different points during a transaction when you may decide to back out of buying a home. Essentially, this allows prospective buyers to be fully informed before purchasing a home. Should something come up in the financing, inspection or appraisal of a property, you can typically back out.

Sellers, however, have fewer opportunities to back out because they are the ones deciding whether to accept an offer in the first place, and they certainly don’t have to accept an offer. As noted in this article, once an offer is accepted, sellers can find it difficult and costly to back out.

The options you have as a buyer if the seller backs out depend on the terms of the contracts that are signed. For instance, you may not be able to do anything if a contract allows the seller to cancel a contract if a better offer comes through before a certain point. If the seller decides not to sell and there are no contingencies in a contract, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the seller and/or seek compensation from the seller for violating the contract.

When it comes to home buying contracts, time is a critical factor. As a buyer, you need to know how you can protect yourself and the home you are trying to buy, but there are often very small windows of time to do so. Because of this, discussing a real estate contract dispute with an attorney as soon as possible can prove to be crucial.

Mon Aug 27, 4:05pm

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