What rights do we have as buyers of a home, if after we had signed our papers the seller’s of the home back out?

UPDATED: Oct 7, 2011

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What rights do we have as buyers of a home, if after we had signed our papers the seller’s of the home back out?

Put an offer on the house 3 weeks ago. Sellers house had been on the market for 3 months. We’re the 2nd offer on the house. Accepted the offer less then 24 hours after we gave it. We hired an inspection within 5 days and decided we would do everything to fix the items not up to code. There were 3 things that we asked them to do from the inspection due to the weather. Then 3 days after submitting the request we were told by our realtor that we lost the house because the sellers decided that they don’t want to sell anymore. Fiance put in 60 day notice at their apartment already.

Asked on October 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You say that the seler had accepted your offer; in addition, there was presumably a signed contract with them. In this event, you could legal action to enforce the contract; a contract is binding on both parties, and once there is a signed contract, the seller may not simply choose to back out. At a minimum, you could seek monetary compensation (for the costs you've put in; for your fiance having to rent a new place to stay and store belongings; etc.) and also recover your deposit or earnest money; you might instead be able to get a court order forcing the seller to go ahead with the sale as per the contract's terms. The only exception would be if, under the contract, the seller had some ability to terminate it and did so in accordance with its terms. From what you write, it would be worthwhile to consult with an attorney to evaluate your rights and best recourse. Good luck.

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