What is my recourse for seller backing out of contract less than two weeks from closing?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is my recourse for seller backing out of contract less than two weeks from closing?

We have had several inspections, survey, appraisal, and terminated lease on our
rental. My realtor just told me they signed a contract termination and don’t want
to sell anymore. What can we do?

Asked on July 10, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Arkansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Assuming they do not have valid grounds to terminate the contract (e.g. you did not commit fraud; you did not breach or violate your obligations; there is no "contingency" in the contract allowing them to terminate it now), you would be entitled to retain their deposit or earnest money: when the buyer breaches without legal justification, they forfeit the deposit. If you suffer provable losses that exceed the amount of the deposit (e.g. say it takes you another 7 months to find another buyer and sell, and during that time, beause you already leased or bought another home, so that you are paying for two homes, you incur "carrying costs" for this home in excess of the deposit), you could also sue for the amount by which your losses exceed the deposit.

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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