Refuse to sell to a particular buyer

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Refuse to sell to a particular buyer

Parents bought a home in their name, for me. I contributed 10k and have made the mortgage payments for over a year. The agreement going in was that when I was ready, they’d sell to me for what we paid 365K. I’m now ready to buy but they are mad at me right now, so are refusing to sell to me. I offered 385k and I’m pre-approved for my loan. Can they now refuse to sell to me. All done verbally.

Asked on February 11, 2019 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, they can refuse to sell to you:
1) As a general matter, a seller may refuse to sell to anyone so long as they are not engaging in race, ethnicity, color, religious, or disability-based discrimination.
2) In your state (and many others) by law, an agreement to sell real estate must be in writing to be enforceable (under what is traditionally called the "Statute of Frauds"). You can't bring a legal action to enforce an oral (that, not verbal, is the correct term for an unwritten) agreement. Here is link to the relevant statute:

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 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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