Can a seller terminate a contract?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a seller terminate a contract?

I am representing a Buyer on a home purchase. It is a Cash deal the buyer has signed all disclosures, done inspection which was agreed to and signed by the seller with in 7 days of signed contract. The buyer also provide proof of funds. We are 3 weeks into the contract and the Sellers agent has sent me a termination on the grounds that the sellers could not find anything to buy or rent which was never part of our contract. Can the Seller do this? Is this specific Performance situation?

Asked on August 9, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Arkansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, the seller cannot terminate the contract unless 1) there is some clause or provision in the contract itself allowing the seller to do this, and the seller fully complies with it; or 2) the buyer first breaches in some material way, such as by not making a required deposit. Otherwise, the seller is obligated to the sale, and the fact that they cannot find something to buy or rent is wholly irrelevant. Because this involves real estate, where each parcel is generally held to be unique to at least some extent (a house and a neighboring house, for example, are far from identifical in most cases due to differences in plot, location, house size, style, and amenities, etc.), specific performance may be available; monetary compensation for the buyers can be viewed as inadequate, so that it is necessary to force the seller to go through with the sale.

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