Several days ago, I signed a contract agreeing to purchase a house; however, since then I had a change of mind due to:

  • structural problems with the house
  • changing my mind on my personal finances.

To expand on the first point: The structural problems were communicated to me before I signed the contract. The seller agreed to fix them but I find the fixes unsatisfactory. In addition, after signing the contract I was informed that part of the fixes would be done after closing.

I communicated my wishes to back out of the contract to my realtor, and he informed me that if I do not close, the seller will sue. I have contacted an attorney in case the threat is 'real'.

My question is: does the seller have reasonable grounds to sue? In general, what should my expectations be with respect to this kerfuffle?

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    Normally, you have conditions on your offer. As the various problems are fixed or you agree to a lower price in order to accept the situation, you remove the conditions. Have you lifted the conditions (or failed to place conditions) in this case? – ChrisInEdmonton Jun 21 '17 at 19:16
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    Time is of the essence. You should contact a lawyer immediately for accurate advice that you can use before your situation may change. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Jun 21 '17 at 19:31
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    Depends entirely on the specific terms of the contract you signed. Ask the attorney for advice, he's really the only one qualified to answer. – Kevin Jun 21 '17 at 19:32
  • What country are you in? A typical US agreement would have included "earnest money" which at this point you would probably have to give up, though I can't imagine the seller being able to sue for much more than that (based on the normal sort of contingencies that are written in to protect both parties). IANAL though, and rather than asking yours whether or not the threat is real, you should be asking how much you'll be on the hook for if they do sue and win. – CactusCake Jun 21 '17 at 19:55
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a request for specific legal advice. – Joe Jun 21 '17 at 20:48

Anyone can sue you. Whether or not they would win the lawsuit is what matters, and to win there would have to be measurable damages. How much money could the seller possibly have lost due to this in just a few days? IMHO the most you'd realistically be out is your earnest money.

BTW, your realtor gets paid only if you purchase a home, so in this case your realtor may not have your best interests in mind if the choices are: "buy this house" or "don't buy anything". Definitely talk to an attorney, and then consider notifying the seller ASAP.

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    Time is definitely of the essence here. Contact a lawyer immediately so that they can properly notify the seller as soon as possible. – David Schwartz Jun 21 '17 at 19:49
  • Assuming the contract is to buy a home in the USA then there is probably a 3 day right of rescission clause in the contact. You should read the contract looking for the word rescission. If it's in the paperwork and you're in the clear, timewise, then call the escrow company and tell them your banking out of the deal. At the very least get in writing that the seller has to fix what's wrong, by a specific date, and stipulate the consequences if the seller doesn't make good to your satisfaction. – Thomas Paine Jun 22 '17 at 1:55
  • @ThomasPaine - in the US, it varies by state, but in general the right of rescission doesn't apply to a home purchase; it typically applies to refi or HELOC. – TTT Jun 22 '17 at 5:33

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