Contract LawReal Estate LawZinnLaw Real Estate Contracts

Sellers may want to get out of a deal after accepting an offer for their home or property. The reason may be emotional — the seller just decides they don’t want to move. In more practical cases, the seller may receive a higher or better offer. Or the seller’s employment circumstances may change or questions about the estate arise. At ZinnLaw of Fort Myers, FL, we’ve seen pretty much all of these circumstances arise during a real estate deal, and they are legitimate reasons to back out of the contract.

In whatever event, sellers can back out of a contract, though not as easily as buyers. In some cases, a seller can back out if the buyer hasn’t secured financing by the date spelled out in the contract. However, this clause isn’t always included in the contract.

Since there aren’t as many contingencies in the seller’s favor in a sales contract, it usually takes more negotiation with the buyer to secure an agreeable arrangement if a seller wants out. Often, this will take the expertise and skills of an experienced florida real estate attorney to achieve.

However, some scenarios allow a seller to back out of a sale without resorting to more extensive measures. They include:

  • Failure to locate a suitable replacement home
  • Using the attorney review clause
  • Title transfer issues
  • Putting the buyer’s contingencies to work

Failure to find housing

If the sale contract includes a new home contingency, it will spell out how much time a seller has to find a new home. The time frame is usually between 30 and 60 days. If you can’t find housing, you can walk away from the sale after the time frame has elapsed.

Attorney review clause

Some contracts are subject to review by a real estate attorney. Local laws usually dictate whether this is required. If issues arise or the seller decides to back out during the attorney review period, the seller can get out of the deal without penalty. Keep in mind the review period may be relatively brief, such as three business days. Depending on the locality, this requirement may also apply to buyers.

No clear title

Sellers can’t move forward with a sale if title issues arise. If property taxes haven’t been paid on the house or an outstanding lien is identified, the property cannot be sold until the lien is lifted.

Using buyer contingencies

If significant issues are found on the home inspection, the buyer may request the seller make repairs or improvements. If the seller chooses not to do so, both the buyer and seller have a reason to abandon the deal.

If you are in need of legal help in drafting an agreement, or if you would like legal advice as to the ramifications of you signing a particular contract, Brian Zinn at ZinnLaw of Fort Myers, FL provides you with sound advice that can only come from experience.