Can a seller cancel sale and escrow due to family emergency?

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Can a seller cancel sale and escrow due to family emergency?

My house just got in escrow and then I found out my mother has terminal cancer. I no longer can sell my home and now the buyer’s agent

Asked on February 9, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You don't have any legal right to cancel due to a family emergency. In the law's eyes, your family emergency is your problem--not the buyer's. Just as the buyer could not get out of the sale due to a family emergency (e.g. they could not walk away without losing their deposit even if they'd had a family emergency; no matter what befell them, you'd be entitled to keep their deposit at a minimum), so you can't get out of the contract/sale due to your emergency. You could only cancel the contract and sale if 1) there was some clause or provision or term in the contract allowing you cancel under these circumstances, and you fully complied with it; or 2) the buyer breached (violated) the contract in some material, or significant, way, since such a breach would allow you to treat the contract as terminated.


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