Is there a way for the seller to take advantage of a loophole that we are unaware of to get out of escrow obligations?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is there a way for the seller to take advantage of a loophole that we are unaware of to get out of escrow obligations?

We are buying a home and the seller has tried to get us to back out of the deal because she says she doesn’t have a place to live lined up yet. Now she is doing everything she can to delay the closing or worse find

some loophole with a lawyer and get out of her obligations to close the deal. I am suspicious of her lawyer and planning to find legal loopholes to back her out of the escrow and closing of the home sale because the law can be flexed in our state. I need the question answered Is there anything she can do if we are 4 days from closing? She keeps resending property disclosures to delay in any way possible the closing of the deal.

Asked on December 19, 2018 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, she can only get of the deal if is one of the following applies:
1) There is some contingency in the contract under her control which lets her terminate or get out of the deal at this juncture and she 100% complies with its terms.
2) You, as buyers, breach some material or important term of the agreement, like not being able to close on time.
3) She can somehow show that you committed fraud in some way by knowingly misrepesenting, or lying about, something important to get her to sign the contract.
Apart from the above, she is locked in/obligated. Her inability to find a home is legally irrelevant.
If she refuses to close as scheduled, send her (or if she has a lawyer and you have been made aware of him, her attorney), a "time is the essence" letter detailing that she has already missed a closing date and that closing promptly is important to you (and why--e.g. you have to be out of your current residence; you will incur storage or other costs if you don't close; etc.) and setting a new date in a week or so. If she fails to close then, you can bring a lawsuit for "specific performance" to force her to close (i.e. to honor her contractual obligations) and can try to so on an "emergent" (think "urgent" or "emergency" basis to get into court faster). Doing this can be procedurally complex, so if it comes to that, hire a lawyer to help 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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