Breach of Contract by Seller?

Asked by Unhappy In Kc, Missouri Tue Aug 16, 2011

The Seller, also a real estate agent, backed out of our Contract while negotiating resolution of very modest inspection findings. We had verbal commitment to resolution of items identified but when we wrote them up and presented to the Seller they were rejected without comment. This after we had negotiated the price, increased our earnest money at Seller's request, conducted radon, termite, and home inspections at Buyer's expense, and delayed Closing/Possession dates to accomodate Seller. The Seller immediately, even before we signed the cancellation and mutual release agreement, re-listed the property at a higher asking price. Seems the Seller got "cold feet" and decided to hold out for more money after signing a Contract and getting us to pay for inspections. What's the appropriate recourse, if any? Btw, turns out both the Seller and Buyer's agent work for the same company, a leading real estate company in the Kansas City area.

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Michelle Rot…, , 52722
Tue Aug 16, 2011
It depends on your specific contract and you should consult your attorney for legal advice. You are changing the terms of the contract when you go back to the seller and ask them to spend money on making repairs. The seller does not have to agree to negotiate with you again. They may have put the property back on the market at a higher price to cover the cost of the repairs that will be needed.
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Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Tue Aug 16, 2011
I appraoch this from a different direction:
Why did you spend money on Inspections before you had a signed Contract?

That was your mistake.
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Michael Emery, , Minneapolis, MN
Tue Aug 16, 2011
There was no breach as the homeowner chose not to sign the addendum relating to the inspection. While in some states a verbal agreement can be binding, it often comes down to 'he said / she said' which makes a verbal agreement practically unenforceable. No breach = no damages.
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Cathy Sloan, Agent, Jacksonville, FL
Tue Aug 16, 2011
It is a chance you take when you re-open negotiations because of a contingency in the contract. . A verbal agreement is not binding. It's not breach as you changed the terms of the contract and the seller does not have to honor the verbal agreement and sign accptance.
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