Can I cancel a land sale?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I cancel a land sale?

I have 2.2 acres of land for sale. I gave a bill of sale
and a copy of deed to potential buyers to take to
bank to obtain financing. They were approved for the
loan but have not closed and I have not received any
payment. I have decided I do not want to sell my
land. The potential buyers are refusing to back out of
the deal. Is it too late for me as the seller to cancel
the sale?

Asked on February 15, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Was there a date by which they had to close and pay? If any such date was defined in any written agreement about or for the sale and they have breached said agreement, you may terminate (cancel) the agreement to sell to them for their breach. 
If they did not have a date certain set to close and pay, they get a "reasonable" time to do so, which unfortunately is not a defined or set period of time. Send them a letter, sent some way or ways you can prove delivery, reiterating the time line to day and giving them some additional reasonable period (e.g 30 days) to close and pay, stating also that the sale will be terminated if they do not do so by then. Then, if they fail to comply, you should be able to terminate the sale.
Since they are holding the deed, bear in mind that if they don't voluntarily return it, then even after you have lawful grounds to terminate the sale, you will likely have to sue them to get a court order forcing its return.

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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