What are a sellers right to terminate a land contract?

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What are a sellers right to terminate a land contract?

My father-in-law has taken steps to sell his home and currently has an

interested buyer and signed the contract. Also, he accepted the ernest

money of 2K. After speaking with family he has decided to rescind the

contract and terminate the agreement as he was unable to qualify for senior

housing. Which he advised the selling agent of upon acceptance of selling the home. The buyer was notified of my father’s intention to not sell and give

back the ernest money, however, the buyer refuses to sign and is now

seeking legal action. Does my father-in-law have any legal recourse in the

event that he is forced to sell his home. Can they force him to sell in the

state? Any feedback would be great.

Asked on March 1, 2017 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, he does not have any legal recourse: a contract is binding and enforceable in court. They can potentially force him to sell, because land contracts are one of the few cases where courts will grant "specific performance," or force a party to the contract to go through with it, rather than simply awarding monetary compensation ("damages") to the non-breaching party; that is because real estate is regarded as unique, with one home not being idential to another home down the street, so the theory is that if you don't sell the home the way you contracted to, the would-be buyers are injured or harmed in a way not necessarily made up for by money, since a different house will not be identical to the one they wanted.
The fact that your father-in-law will experience a hardship if he doesn't sell is irrelevant: party A's hardship has no bearing on their legal obligations to party B, and you cannot use your hardship as an excuse to get out of a contract.

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