can I walk out of a signed contract and get my deposit back

Hi there,

I signed a buying contract in Collierville, TN on May 1st for a new house.
While the closing date is open on the contract, the builder’s agent told us it
will take roughly about 6-7 months.
And now, they said they can only get the house ready by the 1 or 2 week in Feb
We don’t want to wait for this unreasonable 2 months delay and is wondering if we
could walk out from the contract and have our deposit back

Thanks in advance

Asked on December 5, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You most likely cannot: since the closing date is, as you say, open on the contract, the builder is held only to a standard of completing it in a reasonable time. You describe the house being ready in around 10 1/2 months, when it was supposed to be ready in around 7. A delay of 3 months or so in construction of a house is not unreasonable: in fact, such a delay is actually on the shorter side. Given the realities of building houses and how susceptible the process is to delays, it is highly unlikely that a court would consider this delay sufficient unreasonable as to justify the termination of the contract and return of your deposit.

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