As a buyer, can you back out of a contract with a seller if their property was not listed accurately?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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As a buyer, can you back out of a contract with a seller if their property was not listed accurately?

We recently got into a contract on a home and my realtor made sure to tell me that it is a modular home. Being a first time buyer I didn’t have to much knowledge about what that is. I found out a little more from my lender that it is basically a stick built but in a factory and will be financed the same. I received some paperwork prior to inspection that stated that it is being listed as a modular manufactured home. I made sure to ask and the seller’s realtor is insistent that it is a modular home. After our home inspection, my inspector stated that it is in fact of manufactured home and not modular due to the steel chassis in the crawl space. Another issue is there is no records of

taxes for this home due to it being dropped off 8 months ago and is a 25 year old home. I believe the seller’s realtor was misinformed but I would prefer a home that appreciates in value and is easier to finance.

Asked on April 16, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether the mis-listing is "material" or important in some way. I have never lived in nor looked to purchase wither a modular or manufactured home, so I can't offer an opinion as to how important the distinction is. If the distrinction means a large (and if necessary provable in court, such as with realtor or engineer, as appropriate, testimony) in either appreciation of value or in durablity, how long it will last, maintenance costs, etc., then it would be a material difference and a material violation of a contract (not getting an important thing you contracted for) would let you terminate the contract. Similarly, a material misrepresentation or misstatement about what you would get may well be fraud, and fraud would let you void the contract. So if this would provably be an important difference, you could use it to get out of the contract.
But if the distrinction between modular or manufactured is not significant in value, costs, maintenace or durability, etc., then this does not affect the contract.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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