Home Buying in 90622>Question Details

Andrew, Home Buyer in 92821

Under California Law, can a seller ever force a buyer to purchase a home?

Asked by Andrew, 92821 Tue Oct 12, 2010

Buyer and Seller entered into a purchase agreement which was signed by both parties. Deal has been in escrow for longer than agreed upon term. Buyer has not signed off on contingences (section 14B(4) of CA purchase agreement) and buyer and seller both signed liquidated damages portion of purchase agreement (section 25). Buyer wants to back out of the deal and sellers agent is saying she will sue to make the buyer adhere to the contract.

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I vote, "No."

Putting aside the details of your particular contract . . . here's the general problem - by the time you get in front of a judge, the Seller's been carrying the home, spending money; the buyer will have had plenty of time to become incapable of getting financing, it's just not going to work.

However, in the meantime, the seller can make the (former) buyer's life miserable for a long time, the buyer will need to retain an attorney to deal with the ruckus that the seller's attorney makes.

The parties really need to come to terms and execute a rescission, so that they can both move on.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
Hi Andrew,

I just provided an answer to your initial post that covers all the relevant contingencies and good faith provisions you should review regarding your situation: http://www.trulia.com/voices/Home_Buying/Can_a_seller_in_Cal…

This is not a forum for definitive legal answers, and in fact, the judge/jury always has the final say! I would take some time to seriously consider speaking with a lawyer at this point. At the very minimum, if your Agent is a Realtor® they are a phone call away to free legal advice from CAR’s lawyers concerning your situation.

Best, Steve
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
Andrew sounds like you need a good R E attorney...No one here is lic. to practice law and any wrong answer given, you can sue the agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 15, 2010
Hi again,

I'm just so sorry you are dealing with this...I'm hoping by today (Oct 15th) you've solved this issue. You should be fine, but remember that no one here (including me) is giving you legal advice....get your agent to handle this for you and let us know how it all works out.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 15, 2010

If you are the Buyer, why do you want to cancel / backout of the contract?

Thom Colby
Broker / Owner & Certified HAFA Specialist
Thom Colby Properties
Newport Beach, CA
Moving Lives Forward (TM)
We NEVER DOUBLE-END Transactions in our Brokerage. There is NO benefit to the Seller or Buyer and only benefits the Agent. Also, NEVER use your RE Agent / Broker as your Lender or vice versa. Also, be careful when using Real Estate Broker-owned Escrow and Title Companies - they can be loads of trouble.
888-391-5245 Direct Cell
DRE# 01398570
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 13, 2010
I'm afraid the seller cannot sue for specific performance if the buyer has not removed contingencies. The most the seller can do is give them a notice to perform (remove the contingencies in 48 hours or they cancel the contract and put the house back on the market.)

If the buyer had released them, the seller could give them a demand to close escrow and if the buyer doesn't do it, the seller can cancel and keep the earnest money.

In short, I don't think you can force the buyer to buy the house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
Hi Andrew,
If you have not signed off on your buyer contingencies, then there is not much they can do to keep you in the transaction. The contract does intend that a cancellation is for a good cause, not just changing your mind. They can attempt to sue you for "specific performance" but it does not sound like they have any leverage in your case.

I always suggest you talk with a real estate attorney, especially because they have threatened to sue you. You want to make sure you have read your contract correctly. It sounds like you have, but then again, I can only base my advice on what you have written here.

Also, your good faith deposit is likely to be held up for quite some time until you and the seller both agree to release it. You can't just get it back if you cancel. The seller has to agree to release it.

Good luck and I hope your situation is resolved amicably.
Aaron Zapata
Prudential CA Realty
Brea Office
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
Hello Andrew,
I am not an attorney but my understanding is...
They can not 'force' you to purchase; and, since both parties signed, the liquidated damages clause indicates what should be the compensation that you (the buyer) would owe the seller in case of your default.
Since you have not signed off on your contingencies, you may have a case to not lose your earnest money deposit- but if they take you to court & if you don't have a good reason to back out (just changing your mind or finding a better deal/home would probably not be considered good reasons to a court) the court may still award the damages to the seller, especially if you have grossly exceeded your time periods (the contract stipulates that 'Time is of the essence'.
Best of luck to you,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
It is called specific performance. It is where one party sues the other to have the court rule that theone party adhere to teh contract and fulfill their obligation.

You need to read the contract carefully as in most contracts, if the buyer does not let the seller know there is a pronblem or they want to back out within teh specified time, that contingincy is automatically waived by the buyer. this is common with home inspections and mortgage contingincies.

You should meet with a local attorney to review your contract to let you know what you options are.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
Hi Andrew. What is the REALTOR and real estate attorney that represents you in this transaction saying? What advice are they giving you? Are you represented? Everyone here that wants to help you with this problem needs to know.

We wrote you on the first post earlier that if you do NOT have an executed contract, a contract signed by ALL parties in the transaction, then you do not have an agreement by law. All real estate contracts MUST be in writing. That means signed, too. In addition, if the contract is out-of-date, then it's null and void.

GOOD LUCK and please help us to fine-tune our answers by giving us more information.

Scott Miller, Realty Associates, Boca Raton, FL
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
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