Can buyers sue sellers if sellers delay closing one week in state of NC?

As the sellers of a home, we delayed our closing by a week due to delay in
closing of our new home. The buyers want to sue us for default on contract. We
live in NC. The contract states the delaying party has 14 days to settle on the
home. We are only delaying 7-10 days.

The buyers now want to cancel the contract and demand we refund their
earnest money.

Asked on August 29, 2017 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The answer is found in the contract: if the contract by its terms provides you 14 days to "cure" the problem and settle on the home, you have up to 14 days--and if your delay by 7 - 10 days, you are still within that period and the contract still enforceable. That said, depending on the specific terms of the agreement, it is possible they could claim against you (i.e. sue) for the direct costs or losses they can proved were caused by your delay (e.g. if they had to store belongings for a week, incurring storage fees; if they had to stay in a hotel because they could not move in; etc.), but even if they can do that (since generally the law does hold you liable for costs you inflict on another, even if the breach was not so material as to terminate the contract), the agreement should still be in force and they will have to through with the purchase, if you have that 14-day period.


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