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Can a buyer or seller opt out of a home purchase at closing?

Customer Question
Can a buyer or seller opt out of a home purchase at closing?
Submitted: 5 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
3/15/2018
Real Estate Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Lawyer replied 5 months ago
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: JA Mentor
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Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

A person can always choose to breach a contract, which would include backing out of a home purchase at closing. However, there are consequences associated with making that decision. A seller who backs out could be sued for an order requiring him to proceed with the sale. This is because real estate is unique and the law has said that another property wouldn't be enough to compensate the buyer for the loss of that particular property.

A buyer who backs out can be sued for the money the seller loses at the sale. At a minimum, that's going to be any realtor fees the seller has to pay, because the realtor has earned their fee and is entitled to payment as soon as the contract is signed. They get paid even if the deal doesn't go through. But also, if the seller isn't able to find another buyer to pay the same amount or more for the property, the buyer who cancelled would be liable for the difference.

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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Real Estate Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Lawyer replied 5 months ago

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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