Home Buying in 32531>Question Details

Mollie, Home Buyer in Florida

What happens when you back out of a contract? We put a contract on a property with land out in the country.

Asked by Mollie, Florida Fri May 16, 2008

We were transferrred here from Texas. My husbands job is shakey and he is working 14-16hrs a day. I didnt feel like I could take care of the property or be comfortable out so far if he was working so much. We contacted the sellers and understandably they are upset. We are forgoing our earnest money. What can they do legally? My realtor is acting like this has never happened before... surely people back out of contracts.

Help the community by answering this question:



It happens all the time, regardless of what your agent says. Curious, your agent is suppose to be your advocate, not arguing for the other side.

Most often, if you can explain your situation and do so with sincerity, you'll just end up losing your earnest money. But the seller could sue you for loss of value (damages), and potentially more. Your best shot may be to write a letter, with all the sincerity you can, and a reasonable, well thought out explanation of why you don't feel comfortable with the purchase. Ask for the seller's forgiveness and that you understand you will give up your earnest money.

To seal the deal, you need get an agreement in place that says you and the seller are both agreeing to terminate the contract and that the seller is accepting your earnest money deposit as full damages and will not pursue further action.

That said, the above is not a legal opinion, and you really, really need to get an attorney to make sure you don't lose more than your earnest money.

Best of luck,

1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 16, 2008
You will just loose your earnest deposit. That is about it. Nobody can make you buy the property.
Web Reference: http://GetPrequalified.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008

So glad it worked out to your advantage.

Best of luck in the future,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
Just wanted to let say that the sellers signed a release of contract. Thank you for all of your advice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
I agree with the others who have answered before me. Look carefully at your contract to see what options the Seller has in your case. Generally, at least in Georgia, the consequences of defaulting on the contract are spelled out in the body of the contract itself. Also, since your Realtor is not an attorney, check with one to make sure that all your options are being checked out. The Seller can possibly pursue the specific damages route, that will depend on the specifics of the contract. You are probably right about losing your earnest money, and sometimes it is stated in the contract that if the Seller accepts the earnest money, they are not able to pursue for specific damages further.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 16, 2008
The reality is your agent may not have experienced this situation previously and may be unsure of the legal implications. It's basic 101 real estate to understand that backing out of a contract will result, in most cases, with the buyer losing their ernest money. However, anything beyond this falls within the arena of an attorney.

Since you could be held liable for attitional damages, it would be letf to the seller and his/her attorney to determine this direction. I'm sure you can imagine how creative this could be......

Seeking legal counsel at this point should be a real consideration.

Good luck,
The "Eckler Team"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 16, 2008

ask your realtor to explain exactly what your contract states in a case like yours. You are probably correct in assuming that your deposit(s) will be lost. Depending on your contract, your seller may also ask for specific performance and/or damages.

We realtors are not allowed to give legal advice, so if your realtor can not provide all the answers (plus, s/he just lost a deal, so there is probably a bit of unhappiness hovering), or if it's get complicated, it's time to get a real estate attorney aboard.

All the best,

Tobias Kaiser, MS, CIPS
Greater Fort Lauderdale Real Estate Broker + Consultant
Certified International Property Specialist
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 16, 2008
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