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Ask Lane Your Own Question
Category: Finance
Satisfied Customers: 12044
Experience:  Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial & Tax advice since 1986
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Recently we opened escrow on our home (last week). There

Customer Question

Hello. Recently we opened escrow on our home (last week). There is a contingency that the buyers escrow can't not close until we have the successful close and purchase of a new home. Our agent told us originally that with the contingency we had the out if we could not find a home that works for us. Unfortunately we have a change in circumstances so that I would be a hardship to pursue the purchase of another home. In explaining the circumstances to our agent her stand has kind of changed. She is saying we can be sued by the other agent if we back out at this point. What are our rights as a seller? Can you please shed some light on the situation? I feel if we go through the process of looking for a home but can not buy it just seems to waste the time and resources of others.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Finance
Expert:  Lane replied 2 years ago.
Hi,So sorry, (please don't shoot the mesenger here) but signing a contract to sell a home, shows clear intent and is a llegal contract between you and the buyer..Also, (just trying to be sure you have all the fact - maybe it'll help you see around some corners here) there's no "right of rescission," or cooling-off period that would allow sellers to cancel certain types of real estate sales and loans within a set amount of business days, like there is for buyers in some cases.... although they give up earnest money in those cases. So under the law, you can't rescind for no reason..HOWEVER ... I may be stating the obvious here, but DO read the contract carefully. In some states, the standard contract CAN allow for SOME issues; like a stipulation stating you have to find an adequate replacement home before selling, or gaining required sales approval from family members or other parties..Also, you may be able to hold your agent responsible, (threaten to sue for fraud & deceipt) if she led you to believe that this contingency was in the contract but actually isn't..But GENERALLY, the rights are there to protect the buyer more so than the seller. (but if the contingency is in the contract it IS)..Also, SOME courts have given deference to seller's psychological high-ground ifthis is your primary residence. A buyer's effort to force a seller out of your home might not succeed due to these "human concerns.".Finally do be aware that, even if you're able to stay in the home, another risk is that the seller'sagent (typically their broker) might insist that the seller pay the sales commission, even if the home isn't sold. That's a reasonable claim if the broker found a ready, willing and able buyer, but the seller took the home off the market..Have you looked for the contingency IN the contract? (that's by far you best leverage).Let me know ... Lane