Can we break a contract?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can we break a contract?

Listed our house and signed a contract to sell. We would like to cancel the
contract and the buyer wants the contract to go forward.

Asked on June 28, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A contract is binding on the parties to it and can be enforced in court. You can't break it unless 1) there is some term or provision in the contract itself letting you terminate it, and you *exactly* comply with that provision; 2) the buyer committed fraud (lied about something important to get you to enter into the contract); or 3) the buyer breaches (or violates) a material (or important) obligation of theirs, like not paying a deposit when required. Otherwise, you cannot break the contract and can only get out IF the buyer agrees to let you out or otherwise modify the agreement. His agreement would be voluntary, so you'd have to give him what he wants, if doing so is worth it to you.

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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