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Can a seller sue you for backing out of a home sale?

On Behalf of | May 2, 2021 | Real Estate Litigation |

When a seller accepts your offer on his or her home, it is not just a big deal for you — it is also a big deal for the seller. If you back out, the seller is likely to be just as upset as you would be to lose the contract. In fact, a seller may become upset enough to sue you. You may wonder, is that possible?

Depending on your reasons for backing out and the wording of your contract, yes, it is possible for the seller to sue you. HomeLight explores three instances in which a seller may sue you for backing out of a home sale contract.

1. You get cold feet

Getting cold feet is not a good enough reason to back out of a home sale. The seller may not take pity on you if you announce at this point that you changed your mind and that is the only reason you are withdrawing from the contract. Sellers in this situation may have the right to pursue legal action.

2. You find another home

Possibly worse than claiming cold feet is admitting that you found another home. Once you are under contract on a home, you should not make offers or even look at other homes. If you do, and if you decide to move forward with a different property, the seller may be able to hold you liable for breach of contract.

3. You fail to exercise contingencies in time

Home sale contracts often include contingencies that allow the seller or buyer to back out if certain circumstances exist and within a given timeframe. If you want to exercise a contingency, you must do so within that timeframe.

A home sale contract is legally binding. Review the terms and conditions and make sure that you really want to go through with the sale before you sign on the dotted line to avoid legal trouble.