What Recourse Do You Have If A Seller Backs Out Of A House Sale?

23 November 2022
 Categories: Law, Blog


Buying a new house should be an exciting time, but there can be some issues with the sale. You may find your dream house in your price range and make an offer. The seller can then accept the offer, counter the offer, or decline the offer. If the seller accepts your offer or you come to an agreed price point, the sale can then move forward. However, the seller may then decide to back out of the contract. This can be heartbreaking, especially if you have gone through a lot of time and effort to buy a house. Fortunately, there may be some legal recourse for you. Here is what you need to know:

Can Sellers Legally Back Out of an Offer?

The legality of a seller exiting a contract depends on the contract you all initially signed. There would be specific wording in the contract that states when or if a seller can back out of the sale with or without recourse. For this very reason, you need to have a real estate lawyer go over your contract before you sign it. You can draft a personalized real estate agreement along with your attorney to make sure all parties are aware of their rights.

What About Contingencies in a Contract?

The contingencies play a major role in the sale of a home, if a buyer or seller can exit the contract, and in reasons why any party can back out of a sale. There are several stipulations both parties to the sale must adhere to when it comes to the sale of the property. Contingencies in the contract can often determine whether or not it is legal for either party to back out. If the contingencies in the contract allow a seller to back out of a sale and those contingencies are met, there is little you can do, and the sale will be over. If the contingencies do not allow a seller to back out and they cancel the contract anyway, you and your attorney may want to move forward with legal action.

What Are Your Rights?

If a seller backs out of the contract after you both signed, you can file a lawsuit if the contingencies are not met. The lawsuit can either force the seller to sell you the home or sue the seller for the expenses you incurred for the sale. This includes any deposits you paid, temporary housing costs, inspections you paid for, and the like.