Can I offer money to someone to back out of a purchase contract after the terms end?

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Can I offer money to someone to back out of a purchase contract after the terms end?

Summary – A person put an offer on a house with a 30 days close date. The house is going to take longer than 30 days to close because it is going through the HAP (government assistance) program. Often takes 60-90 days. That buyer has the option after the 30 days to wait longer or end the terms of the contract due to the fact the house did not close in 30 days. Is it legal for me to offer that person money to not wait and end the contract after the 30 day terms so that I can put an offer on the house?

Asked on February 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is absolutely legal from your point of view.  That is, any person may offer any other person a sum of money to do something which is not a crime, and there is no crime in withdrawing from an offer to buy something. So you would face no liability for doing this, at least so long as you don't otherwise do anything wrongful (e.g. there's no fraud involved). Whether or not the person with the offer can take your offer and withdraw without penalty depends on his situation--it's not impossible that he may owe some money to a lender or broker for that person's time; to the home seller if there are any limitations on why the buyer can pull out; or face some penalty if the HAP program includes one for doing this. However, that is largely that person's concern, not yours--you are free to make the offer.


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