If we go past our closing date and end up not getting the house, can we sue the seller for the inspection fee or to buy down our mortgage rate or loss of time or something?

My husband and I are in the process of buying house; it’s a for sale by owner. Our offer was accepted and we have been approved

for the loan however the title company discovered that the seller has the house up for collateral on a loan, we need to close by 03/31 to keep our locked mortgage rate original close date was 03/24 but we added an addendum to extend it to the 31st. The house can’t be sold like that so the seller says he will pay his loan off after the end of the month but since the mortgage rates have gone up our current quoted mortgage rate will no longer be locked and we will have the higher rate. We’ve already talked to him about buying the

mortgage rate back down since he’s the one dragging his feet on everything but he doesn’t want to seller is very cheap. We even had to inflate our offer up to cover our own closing costs and he wanted us to pay for his closing costs also. We’ve invested too much time to the point where even if we don’t get this house because of his mistakes we’ll still have to pay a higher mortgage rate on a different house, and we’ll still owe $1,000 for the inspection and $2,000 for our real estate adviser since she wouldn’t have gotten a commission from FSBO.

Asked on March 13, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A house contract of sale is like any other contract: it is legally enforceable. If one party to the contract (like the seller) breaches his legal obligations in the contract (such as by missing the contractually agreed upon closing date) the other party can sue him for "breach of contract" for any losses or costs they suffered due to the breach, such as increased mortgage costs, money spent on an inspection, etc. for a home which you could not end up getting due to seller breach, etc. Based on what you describe, you would appear to have grounds for a lawsuit if his delays and violation of the closing date causes you losses.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A house contract of sale is like any other contract: it is legally enforceable. If one party to the contract (like the seller) breaches his legal obligations in the contract (such as by missing the contractually agreed upon closing date) the other party can sue him for "breach of contract" for any losses or costs they suffered due to the breach, such as increased mortgage costs, money spent on an inspection, etc. for a home which you could not end up getting due to seller breach, etc. Based on what you describe, you would appear to have grounds for a lawsuit if his delays and violation of the closing date causes you losses.


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