are we able to back out of buying a house before closing without being sued?

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are we able to back out of buying a house before closing without being sued?

My husband has been offered a different position in his company in a different city in our state. We are about to close on a house, however the distance he would have to drive would be too far to drive every day. We want to back out of buying the house but our underwriter is saying that they can sue us for breach of contract. The thing is, we signed an addendum to move back the closing date, yet we are past that date and haven’t signed another addendum stating that we would go past the date stated. The seller has pushed back the closing date multiple times and everything was completed on our end, except for signing another extension past the 11th of this month. Are we safe to back out without fear of major repercussions?

Asked on August 17, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you would likely not be safe to back out: courts tend to not enforce closing dates as strictly as other contract terms, unless you had already sent them a "time is of the essence" letter, sent some way that you could prove delivery, putting them on notice prior to the last date they'd missed that time was critical and that if they did not close, you would withdraw from the sale. Without a warning like that of the criticality of the closing date, and given that there has already been a course of pushing back the closing date, which might convince a court that time was NOT of the essence and the parties wanted to the sale to go through, but were just having trouble coordinating the close, there is probably a greater than 50% chance that if there were to sue you for breach of contract, that they would win.


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