Do we have a case against seller?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do we have a case against seller?

We put an offer on a house for over asking.
Sellers accepted our offer. We had no
contingencies there are NO clauses in
regards to ‘if the seller can’t find a home’ or
anything similar. Sellers home they were going
to purchase fell through so two weeks before
closing they said they no longer want to sell.
Offered a little money for our inspections. Our
lease is up and we didn’t renew on our
apartment and we want to move forward. I
want to know if we go to court if we have a
case under Michigan laws.

Asked on October 1, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The sellers and/or their broker are wrong: a real estate contract is like any other contract--it is legally binding and enforceable, unless the other side (you) breached the contract in a material (important way), such as by not making a payment you should have made, or lied about something important (your finances; when you could close), which would be fraud; or if the contract itself provides some reasons or grounds to terminate it without penalty (though you indicate it does not).
Other than as the above, they have to go through with the sale. If they do not or will not, you could sue them for "specific performance"--for a court order enforcing the terms of the contract and requiring them to sell to you--and/or for monetary compensation, such as *all* loses the seller's breach reasonably foreseeable causes you, like the costs to stay somewhere else (and store your belongings) for some number of months while finding a new home. You should sue for both in the alternative (you can ask the court for more than one kind of relief: i.e. "please give me A, but if you don't, give me B"), since some judges don't like specific performance and hesitate to order it, even in RE cases, where it most available--that's why you want to have some back-up relief in the complaint (document starting the lawsuit) the court could give you in lieu of specific performance. Note also that suing for specific performance is procedurally more complex than suing just for money; while having an attorney is always a good idea, it is very strongly recommended if seeking specific performance.

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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