How can we get out of our contract to buy a house?

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How can we get out of our contract to buy a house?

Just heard that my husband will probably lose his job. Won’t know for sure until after the closing date. We are scared to buy the house and then find out he is getting layed off. We’d like out of the contract. Is that enough of a reason to back out? If not, there were a few problems (leaking roof, A/C problems) from the home inspection. We have a contingency that states “on a satisfactory home inspection” but we also have a contingency that states that the seller will pay for repairs up to a certain amount. Repairs may not even be that much. Can we use home inspection as an “out”? We don’t mind losing the earnest money but are afraid of getting sued.

Asked on January 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Mississippi

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, your own financial condition is not a valid reason to get out of the contract, unless the contract itself contained a clause or term which allowed you to terminate it under these circumstances (for example, at will up to a certain time or point).

Similarly, the inspection contingency would only let you get out of the contract if, by its very terms, that contingency has not been met. However, if the contingency gives the seller an absolute right to make repairs up to a certain dollar limit and the repairs will cost less than that, you would not seem to be able to get out of the contract on this basis.

Contracts are governed  by their terms: to know whether and how you could get out of the contract, you should bring it to an attorney to carefully review it with you. Good luck.


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