Hi Tara: The answer to your question depends on whether you have both signed and binding purchase contract, and, of course, the language of that contract. Typically, a contract for the sale and purchase of real estate binds both parties to the transaction. The seller promises to pass clear title to the property, and the buyer promises to pay the agreed-upon price. If you have such a contract, then the seller is not free to renege upon his/her promise, in order to sell to a later arriving buyer who offers more attractive terms. Under that circumstance, the seller would be in default of his/her contractual promises/obligations, and therefore subject to legal recourse. The contract would also define the terms of any potential legal recourse, ranging from specific performance to refund of any good faith deposits.
You should carefully review the terms of any sale documents and/or contracts that have been signed by both parties, and you should contact a local real estate attorney. If, on the other hand, there are no written agreements between you and the seller, then you should be aware that the Statute of Frauds requires that agreements for the sale and purchase of real property must be in writing, and courts will not consider so called parole (or oral) evidence of agreements. In other words, if you and the seller had a verbal agreement for the seller to convey his/her property to you in exchange for $X, you are probably out of luck! The seller has the right to negotiate with additional parties until a legally binding contract has been executed by both parties to the transaction.
Hope this helps!
Angela in sunny South Florida
Villa G Realty, Inc.