Can buyers sue sellers if sellers delay closing one week in state of NC?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can buyers sue sellers if sellers delay closing one week in state of NC?

As the sellers of a home, we delayed our closing by a week due to delay in
closing of our new home. The buyers want to sue us for default on contract. We
live in NC. The contract states the delaying party has 14 days to settle on the
home. We are only delaying 7-10 days.

The buyers now want to cancel the contract and demand we refund their
earnest money.

Asked on August 29, 2017 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The answer is found in the contract: if the contract by its terms provides you 14 days to "cure" the problem and settle on the home, you have up to 14 days--and if your delay by 7 - 10 days, you are still within that period and the contract still enforceable. That said, depending on the specific terms of the agreement, it is possible they could claim against you (i.e. sue) for the direct costs or losses they can proved were caused by your delay (e.g. if they had to store belongings for a week, incurring storage fees; if they had to stay in a hotel because they could not move in; etc.), but even if they can do that (since generally the law does hold you liable for costs you inflict on another, even if the breach was not so material as to terminate the contract), the agreement should still be in force and they will have to through with the purchase, if you have that 14-day period.

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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