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Phyllis Harb's Real Estate Blog

Real Estate Questions & Answers

By Phyllis Harb | Agent in La Canada, CA

Can a home seller change their mind?

Dear Phyllis,

A month ago, I put my home on the market and even though we had a really hot summer, I had lots of people coming to look.  The open houses were always packed, and a lot of people came for a 2nd look, some younger couples even brought their parents.  After just a month I got an offer which was $20,000 under my asking, we asked the buyer to come up to the full asking but they only increased by $10,000.  And my real estate agent pressured me to take it.  I accepted their and we opened escrow.  I keep reading in the paper that prices are increasing and that most homes in my neighborhood are selling for more than asking.  Now that home prices are going up, I am really upset, how do I go about cancelling escrow?  I haven’t yet signed the deed to transfer title.


Dear SP,

As both Realtors® (seller’s and buyer’s) performed their job you likely will owe the real estate commission. You might try asking the buyer if they would agree to cancel escrow if you reimburse them for their out of pocket expenses (appraisal, inspections, etc).  If that doesn’t work and you still want to renege on your signed contract and cancel escrow you need to consult with a real estate attorney.   But if I may, I would like to discuss a couple of points:

The first question most home buyers ask is “how long has it been on the market”?  In today’s seller’s market if the answer is more than a week, most buyers and their real estate agents, believe there is some wiggle room in the price.

Most homes in “affordable” price ranges in the Foothills are selling quickly – ten days. These are the homes which are competively priced and many of them are selling in multiple counter offer situations and for over the asking price.

You mentioned lots of showings, some second showings and open houses (plural). It appears that your real estate agent did an excellent job of getting people into your home for showings.  Why do you think those people didn’t write an offer on your home?  Ask your Realtor® to show you which homes during that same time period (in your price range) entered escrow.  I think if you honestly discuss facts and particulars with your Realtor® you will likely feel better about your decision.

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