stopping pending purchase

currently in process of purchasing home. have made offer, was able to move in
prior to closing, Discovered numerous items that need attention and are no longer
interested in completing purchase. current owners initially refused to initiate
repairs, but have started to make some. What are the possible legal ramifications
if we stop the sale

Asked on December 17, 2018 under Real Estate Law, North Dakota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If there is some contingency or provision (like an inspection contingency) which allows you to halt the sale due to finding issues with the home, then as long as you comply with the requirements of that term or provision, you can terminate the sale without liability.
Or if you can show that the seller committed fraud--lied about some significant issue of which they were aware and which would not have been readily detectable when you or your inspectore viewed the home--that can provide a basis to "void," or undo, the transaction.
Otherwise, however, you are obligated to the sale. If you refuse to go through with it, at a minimum, the seller can keep your deposit. Depending on what the contract of sale says (some limit what the seller can get to the deposit) and on what losses they suffer from your backing out, they may be able to sue you for more. (Example: say their monthly carrying costs--mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, etc.--for the home is $3,000 per month. Say that you put down a deposit of $10,000. Say that after you back out, it takes them 8 months to sell the home. They had $24,000 in carrying costs; your deposit, which they kept, covered $10,000 of that; they could sue you for the other $14,000.)


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