Can we break our purchase contract?

Asked by Brian, Raleigh, NC Mon Aug 27, 2007

We decided to have a new house built. The builder would not accept pre-sales so we chose one under construction. As we looked at the same floor plan we asked the seller agent if our house would be built the same with the same details as the one we looked at. We were told that it would be built the same, so we made an offer to purchase. Since then we have had an issue with a small detail the chair rail molding. The trim contractor did not put a return on the molding like the house we saw. I contacted the builder and were told that you get what we give you. I also spoke with the general manager and he said the same. He also said he would not change it unless told by the president of the company. I contacted the president of the company and needless to say he told me that we get what we are giving and that it is a personal taste and that he would quote me a price to fix it the correct way. Is there grounds for termination of our contract? Also the customer service stinks.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Ute Ferdig, Agent, Newcastle, CA
Mon Aug 27, 2007
There is something called substantial performance. While I understand your frustration, you are most likely out of luck as it does not look like the contractor's change of the "small detail" would justify cancellation of the whole contract. That's my opinion. You should check with an attorney as your question involves the interpretation of a contract which calls for a legal opinion. Only attorneys licensed in your state may give legal advice. I am just expressing my opinion, but I can't advise you.
Web Reference:
1 vote
Lee Taylor, Agent, Charleston, SC
Sat Sep 1, 2007
If you break your purchase contract, legally protect yourself.
0 votes
Michael Stan…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Mon Aug 27, 2007
If you have the original choices in writing, this will help your cause. You should have a real estate lawyer look at the contract and what the provisions are, if you are concerned with cancelling the contract.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Vicki Masell…, Agent, Duluth, GA
Mon Aug 27, 2007
It has been my experience that new home construction contracts are almost always written on non-standard forms prepared by the builder/developer's attorney, and as a result, often look and feel a bit one sided in favor of the seller. Most state's board of Realtors have pre-printed purchase & sale agreements that are designed to be more neutral and impartial to both the buyer and seller, with each party's responsibility clearly defined including remedies for failure to meet their obligations under the contract.

I am curious to know whether or not you used a buyer's agent when you wrote a contract on your home? I presume that you did not since you are asking the question in this forum. Had I been representing you as your Exclusive Buyer's Agent, I would have created a special stipulation referencing the lot # or address of the home you liked and added an exhibit to the contract specifying in detail how your home was to be finished (usually the builder's "design features" or "build specification" sheet will suffice). The problem you described, while not necessarily a material defect, should not stop you from proceeding with the purchase of a home. It is important to pick and choose your battles with your builder since you will likely have other problems/issues arise in the course of the first year that you will need his cooperation to resolve. Since it sounds as though your contract may not have sufficient detail with regard to chair rail molding, you should seek the advice of an attorney to review the document in its entirety and determine what options you may have (including any possible contingencies).

Final note: It would be a violation of the National Associataion of Realtor code of ethics as well as most state's real estate code for a Realtor to encourage/entice someone to break a contract or to give legal advice. It is my sincere hope that you can reach an acceptable solution to your dilemma with the proper professional assistance you deserve.
0 votes
Ken Pujdak,…, , Greenville, SC
Mon Aug 27, 2007

The default has to be material oin nature. If it is not substantial, then they have not breached the agreement. Of course, no one wants to walk away form their deposit, you cease the agreement and leave your deposit behind if it is that important to you.

Now when you get to the punch list and something is not done, then simply have the closing attorney withhold some money ($5000) until everything is completed within a certain time frame (two weeks after closing). Chances are that they wil not meet the schedule and you'll get some moeny back in your pocket.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more