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When can a seller walk away?

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2021 | Real Estate |

The real estate transaction process can have bumps in the road for buyers and sellers. One possible hiccup is when the seller tries to back out of the deal. There are only limited circumstances in which they could do that without facing consequences.

There are times when a seller can legally not continue the transactions

Usually, the buyer and seller will sign a contract after they agree on all the terms of the transaction. Once that happens, both parties are required to deliver on their side of the deal. The seller must transfer the home to the buyer, who must pay the purchase price and other closing costs. Many deals are also contingent on the purchaser obtaining a commitment for mortgage or other financing. However, contracts are not always airtight. For example, the seller could have an escape clause in the agreement that allows them to break the deal if they cannot find a comparable home. That is something that buyers should try to avoid.

Some deals fall apart in inspection

The most common reason why a real estate transaction falls through is that there are disputes that arise from the physical inspections. Most contracts are signed after the inspections are complete, which allows an opportunity for the buyer and seller to negotiate repairs and changes to the purchase price based on things that a home inspector may find. The buyer may make requests for the repairs that the seller does not want to perform. If the two sides cannot come to an agreement, the contract will not be signed.  Rarely, inspections take place after a contract is signed and give the parties an opportunity to come to an agreement or abort the contract if they cannot.  Generally, it is not a good idea to sign a contract before inspections and all repair or other condition issues are negotiated.

Of course, it is necessary that both the buyer and seller each have their own real estate attorneys for the transaction. Even if the deal seems routine, transactional real estate can present issues right up until the time that the deal closes. An attorney will protect your interests and help keep the deal on track.  It is unethical for an attorney in New York to represent both the sellers and buyers in the same transactions, or for either attorney to have another role in the transaction, such as a broker or provider of title insurance, or even in some cases representing a lender.