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Sellers Remo…, Home Seller in

Can I back out of the sale of my home if buyer issues a new addendum that I don't agree to?

Asked by Sellers Remorse, Tue Feb 19, 2013

I entered into a contract to sell my home. All terms were good. Sale price was agreed to, COE was to be April 1, with a possibility of closing earlier if my tenants moved out sooner. Last week the buyer's agent issued and wants me to sign a new addendum stating that my tenants need to be out of the property 5 days before their lease actually expires and they want a walk through three days after that. They also want to move COE up to March 15. Since they issued a new addendum, is that considered re-opening negotiations and can I say no and back out of the sale of my home without penalty?

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Home Seller

You are confusing a "Counter Offer" and an "Addendum".

A Counter Offer, may void an existing contract, not an Addendum.
You can disagree to the Addendum, and the buyer then has to decide whether s/he
still proceeds with the contract or back out.

Also check with your agent to explain the differences between
a "Counter Offer" and an "Addendum".

Best regards
Web Reference: http://www.ruthandperry.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 20, 2013
If you do not agree to the requested change (the Addendum), then the existing contact is unaffected and is still in force.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 19, 2013
No, while the buyer's agent may issue any addendum they wish, you don't have to sign it. There is a signed contract in effect and unless the buyer is within a period where they may terminate their offer without any penalty all you need to do is simply to refuse to sign the addendum and remind them that there is a legally binding contract in effect and that you expect them to honor it or suffer the consequences. You have no reason to back out of the contract.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 23, 2013
Hi HomeSeller,
This is a seller's market. You shouldn't be getting pushed around by the Buyer. It's actually the other way around. You are the one with the upper hand. You don't have to agree to any Addendum from the buyer. You can just say No to the buyer's requests, then put in a Notice to Perform that tells the buyer that if they don't remove their contingencies with the original contract and terms, you reserve the right to cancel the contract and find a new buyer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 23, 2013
Home Seller,

Typically, an addendum submitted by one party after a contract has been accepted only becomes effective if all parties agree to it. If one party does not agree, then the addendum is not valid and the original contract remains in effect.

Your bigger issue is that of tenant's rights. If you gave your tenants a move out notice with a move out date of say March 30th, you can not give them another notice changing the move out date to March 10th. You can ask if they would move earlier, you can offer to compensate them, but so long as your tenants are not in breach of their agreements with you, you must honor those agreements.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 20, 2013
Once a contract is signed, any changes must be agreed to by both parties. If you want to back out, refuse to sign. Then they can back off or you can issue a 24 hour notice to perform to get out of the contract if they don't.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 20, 2013
The shortest post is the most accurate; John Juarez deserves the "Best Answer."

There's no law against "re-opening negotiations" when you have an executory contract, people can change their agreement. Typically, agents discuss these addendums before springing them on the other party, but that's beside the point.

You can say no, and you are still bound to fulfill the terms of your agreement with the buyers. If you want to back out of the sale, consult an attorney.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 20, 2013
It depends... Your agent should be able to advise you on the options you have...

Simplified version is that you can't get out of the contract by simply refusing to sign the addendum. The buyer still can perform up to the letter of the original contract and close as it was planned originally.

At the same time if the buyer is not satisfied with the progress and your cooperation you may be able to negotiate a cancellation of the contract.
Web Reference: http://talisrealestate.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 19, 2013
Home Seller:

David Rivas' answer is right on point. Don't forget the tenants have rights and your should review the contract to make sure their rights are honored. If there is a violation of their rights in the contract as it is now written, by say having the tenants move out before the end of their notice period, the tenants can stand o their rights and prevent you meeting your obligations to the buyer. So now is the time to review the entire contract as it is now written with your Realtor or an attorney.

Mitchell Pearce
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 19, 2013
Hi Home Seller and thanks for your question.

John J is spot on with his answer. Unlike a "counter offer," the act of an addendum does not affect the current contract terms or conditions in any way. The buyer can ask, but since the contract has already been signed and agreed by both parties, then the contract is as stated. If you agree to the addendum--which, at least only from the facts you've provided, it appears you don't have to so agree--then and only then would the new terms be incorporated into the existing contract.

But as David Rivas pointed out, you DO need to confer with your agent about this. As we do not know the exact terms of your contract, we can only "generally" conjecture what the right answer will be. If you've agreed to terms in the initial contract to "move up" the escrow closing, then you might be required to accept an earlier closing date. Again, only your agent and, if necessary, the agent's broker will know the answer fo you on this one.

Talk to your agent, and get the best information you can regarding the addendum and whether or not a modified addendum could be offered from you to the buyers.

Good luck!
Grace Morioka
Allison James Estates & Homes
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 19, 2013
Where is your Realtor? Tenants have rights and no Realtor can make you break the law. If your tenant has agreed to move out that is one thing however if they have lived in the property for more than a year by law they need a 60 day notice to move and the other Realtor can not ask you to break the law by forcing them out early. Sounds like they are changing the agreement and for that reason you could cancel the contract or serve them a notice to perform on the merits of what was agreed upon in the original agreement. In the offer there is a section that talks about notice to perform. If the box was not checked it is 48 hours so serve them with the notice to perform and if they fail to do so then you can cancel the contract.
Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 19, 2013
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