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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 38910
Experience:  Attorney and Real Estate broker -- Retired (mostly)
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cancelling real estate contract

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I am just one day into a contract to purchase a home, as attorney review concluded today. I have not put any deposit down yet, as it is not required for 10 days. Can I cancel the contract? I need the money I had saved for the deposit for my son's college expenses. His financial aid package just changed and I will be unable to help him if I am forced to go through with this purchase. I am a single parent, and have 8 kids to support. Feeling like I made a big mistake!



Typically, a seller will not force a buyer to proceed with a purchase before any earnest money is deposited -- because it's much easier to simply put the property back on the market.

The issue largely boils down to (1) could you likely complete the purchase in the time specified in the contract, and (2) is the current market one in which there are likely to be other buyers who will be able to complete the purchase in a reasonable time.

If the answer to both 1 and 2 are yes, then the seller will let you walk away. Otherwise, the seller may have an incentive to try to force the purchase on you. Were this a very costly property, I would lean towards the seller. But, if this is a modest home and you are on the edge of not being able to qualify, then there's no reason for the seller to fight with you, because you probably wouldn't be able to complete the purchase, regardless.

So, tell the seller you've changed your mind, and see what happens. I can't guarantee that the matter won't become adversarial, but I'll wager that the deal will be canceled, and that will end the matter.

Hope this helps.
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