What are a sellers rights regarding a buyers failure to close?

UPDATED: Mar 5, 2012

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What are a sellers rights regarding a buyers failure to close?

I had a contract to sell my home; it expired on the 28th of last month. Buyers asked for a price reduction and change of closing. I will not lower my price or do I want to sign for a lower price and buyer is unwilling to agree to contract price ($4,000 under appraisal). My agent said even though I am technically past the closing date that they could still sue me. Is this correct? I do not think I have to agree to any price reductions and I would rather walk away. Could the buyer sue me? They are the ones who missed closing. I have not signed any agreements to change the closing date or reduce my cost nor will I.

Asked on March 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) You do not have to agree to a price reduction; even if there was, for example, an inspection contingency, then the buyers would have the right to ask for a price reduction to remediate some issue or else they could walk away--but you could let them walk away. Once there is a signed contract for  a given price, the seller may insist on it, and the buyer's best recourse is typically to cancel.

Similarly, you do not have to agree to change the closing date, unless you caused a delay which made the original date impossible.

2) If the buyer missed closing, then they, not you, are in default of the contract.

Based on the above, from what you write, the buyer has no grounds to sue you. You should double check the contract, to see if breached any of the terms; but only if your breached or misrepresented something, would the buyer seem to have any grounds to impose liability on you.

3) Furtheremore, assuming you neither breached nor misrepresented, then, as noted above, if the buyer missed closing, the buyer is in breach. You would therefore seem to be in a position to at least retain the deposit/earnest money, and possibly seek other compensation, too.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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