While some are lucky enough to find the house of their dreams and close on the sale within a few weeks, not everyone is that fortunate. In fact, for many, the whole process may take several months, provided you do not anticipate any snags with your financing.
When you find a house you love, you may be excited to learn that the seller is motivated and eager to make a deal. However, what can you do when a seller is not so motivated and decides to back out of the sale?
Is the cancellation legal?
No words can describe the disappointment you feel when you set your heart on a new home only to have the seller change his or her mind at the last minute. You probably already spent a substantial amount of money on inspections and fees. You may have taken serious steps toward the purchase of the home, including selling your old home and placing your furniture in storage, and now you may be feeling frustrated and desperate.
There are countless reasons why a seller might back out, but the most common is that he or she has not found a place to move. However, your contract should include clauses related to when a seller or buyer may or may not back out of the sale, for example:
- Sales contracts typically have a five-day period during which both parties may seek the counsel of an attorney. Either side may cancel the sale during that period.
- If you fail to keep your side of the bargain, for example obtaining financing within a certain time frame, the seller may have the right to cancel the contract, especially if there are other buyers interested in the property.
- Your inspection on the home may have revealed defects you then requested for the owner to repair. If the owner is unwilling to make those repairs or to amend the price of the house, the contract may allow him or her to cancel the sale.
- Of course, there is also the chance that one or both parties did not sign the contract. Without signatures, the contract is not enforceable, and the seller can walk away from the sale at any time.
If your contract is valid and the owner tries to get out of selling to you, you may have options. You may be able to force the sale or at least recoup some of the financial losses you have taken because of the cancellation. A North Carolina real estate attorney can be of great assistance in these matters.