Is it legal to approach the buyer or seller of a house in a pending contract.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal to approach the buyer or seller of a house in a pending contract.

A house we made an offer on went into contract about 4 hours previous to our offer. Would it be legal to approach the other buyer, seller or agent and offer money to the buyer to back out,
or to the seller to back out and accept our offer?

Asked on October 31, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It is legal to make the approach and ask, but bear in mind that if there is a contract in place, as you indicate, neither side may be able to legally back out of it. If one side does, the other side can likely sue them to enforce the contract. So while you can discuss this, do not be surprised if neither side takes you up on it, since taking you up on it would likely be breach of contract and subject them to liability. The best you may be able to do is to get the seller to have you as a back-up buyer in case the first one falls through (e.g. cannot get financing).

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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