What happens if a seller refuses to lose on a real estate deal?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What happens if a seller refuses to lose on a real estate deal?

Our seller has had trouble finding new home due to a job loss, so they have now informed us that the no longer want to sell.

Asked on October 7, 2018 under Real Estate Law, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If the seller is the party who is refusing to complete the deal, the buyer can seek what is known as "specific performance". This is an equitable remedy in which the court requires that the seller go complete the sale. This remedy is available since real estate is considered to be unique, so courts often grant this remedy reasoning that monetary damages are not sufficient to compensate a buyer for the loss of the property. However, this is not the only remedy. The court may order that the seller pay for any money the buyer lost as a result of not closing, including mortgage application fees or appraisal and inspection expenses. The seller may also need to pay the buyer for the difference between the accepted price on the property and the fair market value.

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