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Listed house for sale. Buyer offered and I
accepted price. Inspection was fine and
appraisal was for sale price. Buyer wants to
back out. Can they? If not, can I sue?
Asked on June 11, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Missouri
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 2 years ago | Contributor
They can only legally get out of the sale if one or more of the following happens:
1) You violate your obligations (e.g. can't or won't close when required).
2) You committed fraud, or lied about something important (like flooding).
3) There is some provision or clause in the contract allowing them to terminate the deal under these circumstances, and they fully comply with it.
4) The sale becomes impossible due to something the government does (e.g. eminent domain; zoning change, so the property can't be used for what it was being bought for) or destruction/loss of the property (tornado, fire, etc.).
Otherwise, they are locked into the transaction. If they breach (refuse to go through with it), at a minimum, you can keep the earnest money or deposit; if your provable losses exceed the amount of the deposit (e.g. you had already bought or rented a new home, and end up having to "carry" and pay for this home, too, for 6 or 7, etc. months before you can sell it again, incurring large tax, mortgage, insurance, and maintenance costs), you may be able to sue for those surplus losses, too.