Can a seller sell a home to a different buyer if the house is under contract?

Asked by Rentalproperty, 80916 Thu May 5, 2011

My husband and I are under contract to purchase a home. Today we found out that the seller sold the home to a cash buy under our feet while we were under contract. Is this legal? If not, how do we proceed? Can we sue?

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Tim Moore, Agent, Kitty Hawk, NC
Thu May 5, 2011
You really need to ask a lawyer about this one and it really all depends on what is in the offer and how it was written. Was the term "Time of the Essence" in the contract under the closing date? If not that is one in your favor. If it was there it means your contract is null and void if you go over that date without extending it in writing. It is pretty common to go past a closing date by weeks without the contract being considered expired. I, as the sellers agent, would be remiss to not get something in writing saying the original contract was now expired. I would contact, or have your agent contact, the sellers agents broker and talk about this. There sure seems to be a legal argument if the term, Time is of the Essence was not used and they did not give some notice.
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Phil Rotondo, Agent, Melbourne, FL
Thu May 5, 2011
From the information you are supplying your agent should have filed for an extension to the contract prior to the closing date. The extension should have been in writing and signed by both the buyer and the seller. Was that completed?? If so you are still under contract. If not your contract would be considered expired.
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Rentalproper…, Home Buyer, 80916
Thu May 5, 2011
In response to Tim Moore:

The seller had an agent and was selling the home and yes, they had an MLS. Our agent told us today that they sold the home to a cash buyer. The only thing I can think of is that we were supposed to close on April 30, however we had a problem with our lender and we didn't close on our original closing date, but they knew that we were finding a lender and still wanted to purchase the home. Was the contract invalid if we did not close on the original date?
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Tim Moore, Agent, Kitty Hawk, NC
Thu May 5, 2011
You need to talk with a lawyer for sure. If you really had a binding contract then I would think you have a case for a suit, but an attorney needs to review the documents to be sure. Every court room has two opinions. How do you know it was a cash buyer? Was it listed in the MLS by a Realtor and did that Realtor know this or was it a FSBO?
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