Home Selling in Novato>Question Details

Michelle P., Home Seller in Novato, CA

What rights do sellers have to cancel a purchase agreement prior to the close (date) of escrow?

Asked by Michelle P., Novato, CA Sun Jun 21, 2009

I just signed a contingent sales agreement to sell my house. My upgrade house (that I planned on moving to), however, just fell through. Now I'm stuck waiting for my buyer to remove contingencies while I scramble for a place to live. Do I have any rights to cancel if I can't find a suitable place to live (based upon the seller's rights to cancel in the purchase agreement)? Are there any ethical loopholes for a seller to cancel and amend? I feel like an idiot for not making the counter contingent in the first place but, at the time, it seemed like a sure thing...any advice?

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Michelle...Bummer! I'm not a lawyer, but I can tell you that a contract to sell is a legal and binding document. HOWEVER...if you default on that agreement, the Buyer's recourse is very limited. The Buyer can sue you for performance (or ask the court to MAKE you sell them the house) and maybe try to recover any costs they had (like inspections, loan fees, etc). Makes it really tough on the Buyer, and the odds are they will not pursue it. However, that doesn't make it right. If you want to do the right thing, I would approach the Buyer (through your Realtor, of course), explain the situation, and see what you can work out. Remember...both sides stand to lose on this, so both sides should be interested in "cutting their losses". Best of luck....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 15, 2014
Depending on the actual purchase contract you might find it difficult to cancel as long as the buyer is performing with all due diligence. You should go directly to a good Real Estate Attorney and get their best advice before making any decisions that could have an adverse effect.
As for the right to cancel in the contract because your deal fell through once again unless that was set up as a contingency in the contract.... talk to an attorney soonest.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 15, 2014
If your house is in foreclosure and you have equity, read California Civil Code Sections 1695 through 1695.17.

These sections specifically pertain to sales transactions of homes in foreclosure, between sellers and investors or "equity purchasers".

The code sections are pretty easy to read and set forth very specific guidelines that the investor/buyer and/or their representative (real estate agent or broker) must follow.

Most importantly, they must tell you that you have the right to cancel within a specified timeframe and a notice of cancellation must be written into the body of the contract in at least two places.

These laws are in place to help safeguard equity sellers in distress against being taken advantage of by equity purchasers (investors).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 16, 2014
do I the seller have right to know what the land prasiol for
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 12, 2014
Without reading your sales contract I can not say for sure wether or not you can cancel the sale. More often then not the agreement does not provide a contractual right for a seller to cancel the sale. What did your realtor say? You could have your realtor approach the other agent and ask for the buyers to release from the sale and approach it that way.

New homes come on the market everyday and it only takes one to make the sale of your home a good thing. Hang in there and you might be surprised what you will find down the road. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 25, 2010
Normally sellers will ad a remark on the listing that the sale is contingent of purchasing another property, in this case your realtor didn't tell you that it's ok.
You can always try to talk to the buyer because life is not only contracts and papers, the buyer might have a heart and he will understand your situation.
I got things done like this before many times for my clients. it might going to work for you, but it doesn't heart to try.
Web Reference: http://homesinsale.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 25, 2009

You should have mentioned in the MLS listing and the first counter offer that the sale would be contingent upon the Seller securing a satisfactory replacement property.
But keep in mind that given market reality it's difficult to obtain such a concession from Buyers since it empowers the Seller so and potentially leaves the Buyer hanging.

No one wants to move twice - sorry. Try making lemonade... find an even better value in a an even more attractive home - the market is still working for you.
Web Reference: http://www.REALTZ.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 22, 2009
It sounds like you didn't include the Seller Contingency to find a replacement property when you agreed to the Buyers Purcase Agreement, which means you don't have the right to cancel the contract.

If you and the Buyer did agree and both signed a Seller Contingency to find replacement property then it is likely that you can pull out

Your agent should be able to help you out in this situation.

Maybe you can offer the buyer of your property some sort of incentive to voluntary cancel the contract based on their Investigation Contingency

I'm so sorry you find yourself in this situation, BUT the good news is that there are at least a lot of properties to choose from in this market and it's much harder to find qualified buyers. So maybe you can find another replacement home that fits your needs?

Good luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 21, 2009
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