If I can’t find a new home that I can purchase in the real estate market, how can I get out of the sale contract for my home?

The purchaser made a full price offer but made us responsible to pay $4,500 of the closing costs. We were cutting it very close but when we found that everything was selling in 1 to 3 days, only cash or full price offers were being considered, this meant we would have to come up with full cost of that house’s closing costs. We just don’t have the money to buy another house. What can I do?

Asked on July 13, 2015 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you can only get out of your sale contract for your existing home if there is some contingency in that contract which allows you to get out of it--such as a clause stating that you could back out if you did not find or buy another home. Without some provision in the contract allowing you out, you are obligated to it.

Sometimes, however, the cost of breaching a contract is less than the cost of carrying through with it (e.g. being homeless, or having to rent in what might be  tight rental market, or having to stay some number of months in a hotel while paying to store your belongings). You are advised to bring a copy of the contract to a real estate attorney, who can review your options and the consequences of breaching the contract with you.

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