Can we sue the home seller for delaying to close escrow? What can we get back?

UPDATED: Jun 20, 2009

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Can we sue the home seller for delaying to close escrow? What can we get back?

Our lender approved our loan on the 16th, but we learned from our Agent, that the seller owed money from a credit card linked to the house. Hence, we can’t close unless he comes up with $25K to pay off his balance. We submitted a Demand to Close Escrow Document to them where they needed to close before the 25th of June, otherwise we’ll seek legal counsel. Can we really sue them, coz we already did our part and we’re all packed ready to move. And besides we’re locked in a good interest rate which we don’t want to loose. Please advise. Thank you.

Asked on June 20, 2009 under Real Estate Law, California


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

I'm not a California attorney, so I don't know the law and procedure in your state.  But if the law allows you to set a deadline for closing with a document like that, and if you used it correctly, it sounds like the seller either closes by the 25th or he's in breach of contrat.  And you can really sue him for that.

I'd recommend seeing a lawyer in your area about this as soon as you can, and ideally have him or her handle the closing for you as well.  Sometimes, when people have problems, they try to solve them at other people's expense, and unless you're used to reading closing documents, there are a lot of numbers to make sense of on a single piece of paper, and it's too easy to miss something.  One place to find a qualified attorney, who can give you advice based on all of the facts of your situation, is our website:

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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