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My fiance has cancelled our engagement, after I had sold my…

Customer Question
My fiance has cancelled...

My fiance has cancelled our engagement, after I had sold my house in preparation to move in with him. Closing date is May 31st. I had lived there 14 years. Do I have a realistic chance of suing him for the expenses incurred in being forced to move and losing upwards of $36,000 in commissions for selling and now having to buy a new house. Or is there any way to back out of the sale?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Iowa

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

I signed a contract agreeing to sell if that's what you mean, and agreeing to the buyers price.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Yes, I sold my house because he said that I could live with him in his house, but he is now refusing. I have a 15 year old daughter as well.

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Legal
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I believe a case could be made for breach of contract, although most of it is verbal.
Answered in 29 minutes by:
3/10/2018
Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 4 months ago
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: Lawyer
Verified

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

It is possible to contact the buyer and see if they are having any second thoughts or would be willing to cancel the sale. Note, though, that you'd still have to pay the commissions. Your realtor earns their fee by producing a willing buyer, so they're entitled to payment once you've got a signed contract. They could still sue you for the commission if you cancelled the sale, which doesn't necessarily put you in a better position than you're in now. It's also possible that the buyer could sue you if they're not able to get as good a deal on another house.

There is a cause of action for promissory estoppel, which says that a person can be held responsible for promises they make when someone else reasonably relies upon those promises. It's tough, because there's also a public policy against penalizing someone for a relationship that doesn't work out, and it's hard to prove that the promise exists without anything in writing. You cannot sue for these types of expenses in a breach of the promise to marry case. So you'd have to show that he promised something else to induce you to sell the property. Text messages or emails where he's inducing you to sell the property might help.

The other element that has to be proven is damage. If you're making money from the sale of the house after paying the realtor fees, you're not damaged. If you wind up with a house that's worth more than the one you have now, you're not damaged. So a lot will depend on whether you proceed with the sale, and whether you're able to find a similar house for the same price.

Have I answered your question? If any part of my response is unclear, please reply WITHOUT rating so I can clarify. My goal is to provide excellent service, so if I've done that, please give me a 5-star rating before signing out. Thank you for using JustAnswer.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I have been damaged a great deal in my opinion. The mortgage on this house was paid off free and clear. I am selling for more than I paid, but after commissions and expenses what I clear will be barely more than I paid for it in 2004. That amount of money, plus commissions on the buy side, mean that I have to downgrade significantly to remain debt free, or I have to have a mortgahe again. Yes, he didnt just offer me marriage. He offered me the house, it would be refinanced into my name and the proceeds from the sale of my own house would be used to remodel his home and pay off that mortgage. And then we together would be mortgage free. All that really has little to do with marriage itself.
Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 4 months ago

Moving expenses won't be compensable, because you'd have those if you'd moved in with him. But if you can prove that you sold your house because he promised to add you to his and reduce your living expenses, you may be able to get a judgment for the commission and related expenses.

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Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 4 months ago

Please rate my service positively, as this is the only way that I get paid for the time spent answering your questions. Thank you.

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