Home Buying in Needham>Question Details

John Fregman, Home Buyer in Marblehead, MA

Seller Accepts Offer & Signs, receives new offer, backs out of 1st deal, is this legal?

Asked by John Fregman, Marblehead, MA Sat Jul 19, 2008

We made an offer on a house, which was accepted and signed by the seller. The offer was contingent on inspection and financing. The inspection came back with problems. The seller agreed in writing to repair the problems, but were ongoing discussions around the language and extent of repairs. In the interim, another offer came in. The sellers real estate agent suggested in writing they were going to take the other offer, if the buyers did not agree to the sellers points. A few days later, the seller canceled the transaction. Is this legal in Massachusetts?

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Michael Giles’ answer
At this point your really need to be talking to a Real Estate Lawyer. You should provide him with all signed documents. As stated in earlier responses, the dates written into these docs are critical. You must have a signed extension to any date that has past in order to keep the deal valid. If you are not using a Buyer Agent, you should consider it from this point forward.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 19, 2008
If an executed Purchase and Sales Agreement was signed by all parties, the seller does have to sell. However, if there was a subject to home inspection and a meeting of the minds didn't take place regarding the home inspection repair, or you were not satifsied with the repair resolution and you indicated this in writing, it may have looked like you were backing out of the contract ( in the sellers eyes).
You definitely should consult an attorney for resolve on this.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 11, 2008
Theoretically it is a legally binding contract and the seller can not back out, but it has been done before. The buyer does have a legal recourse and should consult with an attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 22, 2008
Hi John,
I am sorry that happened to you. In the future, if you have home inspection items, I like to advise my clients to resolve them with a credit to the buyer at closing. If repairs are left up to the seller, more likely than not the buyer will not be satisfied. With a credit, the buyer can have the work done by people they trust to the specifications they want. No misinterpretation of language. Just make sure you have 3 estimates for the work that needs to be done. You don't want to be surprised by an unanticipated Pandora's box of problems.
Best of luck to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 20, 2008
HI again John:

Based on your responce to my answer, it would appear that you let the time frames on the accepted offer as they relate to home inspection items expire. Time is of the essence and if the negotiations of home inspection items run past the dates in the offer you need to agree to extend the time frames or you are out of contract.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 19, 2008
The accepted offer had time frames in it. We were one day away from the P&S date.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 19, 2008
Good afternoon John:

Did you extend the time in writing to resolve the home inspection and move forward to P & S? If not, you are out of contract .


0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 19, 2008
Check with your Realtor and/or an attorney. Sounds like you may be out of luck. Did the written notice about the other offer have a timeframe for response in it? Did your PA or your inspection contingency have timeframes in it?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 19, 2008
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