The field of buying and selling homes is a daunting place to be, but also the most rewarding! Most people take seriously the labors of finding the perfect home, and in the end are glad they did so when their hard work pays off.
Whether you are raising a family or simply need a safe haven, the satisfaction of finding that dream home is worth all the ups and downs that happened along the way. Our home is important to us all.
However, there are some cases and instances where things don’t go as smoothly as planned. For example, what if a seller decides they no longer want to part with their home and wants to break their contract with a buyer? Can you get out of an accepted offer on a house before closing?
Let’s take a look.
Why Some Sellers Back Out on Contracts
First, we should cover the possibilities of why a seller would make the decision he wants to take his house off the market.
They get cold feet. For the average American, our home holds memories near and dear to our hearts. The thought of leaving their house for a different one can be a hard pill to swallow. This may be enough for someone to change their mind.
Risky or fraudulent behavior from the buyer may also cause a seller’s decision to waver. However, it may be difficult to prove the buyer’s intentions, which will be discussed later on.
What if a better offer comes up after the house has been sold and the contract agreement signed? Although it’s rare, this may happen in non-commercial sales.
You signed a contract, but now you want to back out of the accepted offer. What happens now?
Ways to Legally Get Out of Your Contract
Good news: If you need, you can back out of a written agreement as a seller. However, it may not be the easiest of tasks.
1. Prove That the Buyer Broke the Contract
If you as the seller can prove that the buyer has violated or breached the acceptance agreement in any way, you therefore have the right to suspend the contract. Different reasons for a broken contract range from a missed deadline on a payment, or purposefully withholding information concerning a lack of funds to the seller. Proving the buyer to be in the wrong may take some time, but this is one loophole to escape your contract.
2. Prove the Buyer Is Acting Fraudulently
Again, there are some things hard to prove unless it is in writing. Proving a buyer is misappropriating funds may take time, as well as extensive attorney fees. Make sure you have clear evidence, or are confident in collecting such evidence in due time.
3. New Home Contingency
If this contingency was written into your original contract, you are able to back out legally if you have not found a new home that meets your needs as the seller.
4. Buyer Agrees to Cancel
If all else fails, getting the buyer to agree to a cancelled lease will be your last resort option. This can be accomplished through verbal communication with the buyer, explaining the situation at hand and nullifying the accepted offer.
5. Other Contingencies
Verbal agreements. Anything that is not in writing does not hold any weight, and will not bind you legally.
Unsigned contracts are also without any legal weight.
Talk with your real estate agent, as well as your attorney to handle each situation with as much grace as possible.
What Does the Process Look Like Afterwards?
Now that you’ve found a loophole, or a buyer sympathetic to your cause that will let you out, what happens next?
If everything goes to plan in a legal sense, both parties can walk away with no harm done. A seller with legal cause to back out of an agreement will make things less messy. You may end up with a lawsuit on your hands, as well as handling legal fees and the cost of short-term housing.
Both buyers and sellers should proceed in a housing agreement with no restraint. Make sure you know what you want, and make sure you’re ready for massive changes before signing off on paper! All will go well when confident hands are played.
Want to know more about tips for sellers and buyers, as well as the current market in real estate? Check out our New Venture Escrow blog for the latest updates!
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