Can I cancel a land sale?

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.


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