What to do if we are selling our house but the buyer has disappeared?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What to do if we are selling our house but the buyer has disappeared?

We went into contract 2 months ago and buyer disappeared from communications for the last 5 weeks. She didn’t show for closing, however the agents are telling me that she has to sign before we can go forward. We have a cash back-up offer and they want the house now. If original buyer did not show for closing does she not void the contract? And why would she have anything to do with us going forward and selling our house?

Asked on July 30, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If the buyer did not show up for closing and didn't even communicate as to "why" or seek a reasonable rescheduling (e.g. for health reasons), then yes, she would most likely be in material (important) breach of contract, meaning that you should be able to treat the contract as terminated and sell to our back-up buyer.

It's not impossible that the first buyer would re-appear later and claim that you breached the contract by sellilng to someone else, but based on what you write, you should have a strong case that, as stated, she breached the contract in such way as to let you treat it as terminated. If she had a valid reason (e.g. in the hospital), you might need to give her any deposit or earnest money back (it's not certain you would, but it's a possibility), but would not appear, based on what you write, to face other liability.

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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