Josephine (Jo) Cusi's Blog
If you are selling a home, often, you hear of buyers backing out at the last minute due to financing difficulties or an inspection issue. While less common, it’s also not unheard of for the seller themselves to actually back out of the sale of a home.
Living in one place for a long time goes along with a strong emotional attachment to that place. Signing a contract, however, does not take into account these strong emotional ties that a seller may have to a home. Once a contract is signed, you have a legal obligation and have shown clear intent to sell the home. This could put you in a serious legal bind as a seller.
What If You’re Having Second Thoughts?
Ideally, before you even sell your home, you’ll have thought the decision through with a clear list of pros and cons. If you didn’t do this for some reason, you may want to sit down and re-examine all of the reasons you wanted to sell your home in the first place. Then, you’ll want to look at all of the reasons that you want to stay in the home.
Why Do We Move?
Often, people decide to sell heir homes based on life circumstances and needs. If you have changed jobs and found a home closer to your new workplace, backing out of the sale of your home might not be the best idea. Your home may be too big as the kids have grown and you want to downsize. Your family may have outgrown your old home and you need a larger space for everyone to be comfortable. These are all great reasons to move. However, our deep emotional attachments to our homes can sometimes hinder us from seeing this clearly.
You Need A Good Reason To Back Out Of A Sale
Sellers don’t have the same rights as buyers when it comes to buying a home. There is no “grace period” for sellers that will allow them to back out without question. If you do decide that you want to stay, you have the option of buying yourself out. You’ll need to consider what costs the buyer has put into trying to buy your home as well. If the buyer has been deeply inconvenienced by your rescinding of the sale, you could end up paying out quite a bit to get your home back. For this reason, you really, really have to want it for the decision to take your home back to make sense. You could end up needing to reimburse the buyer for things like:
- Temporary housing rentals
- Storage costs
- Inspection fees
- Legal fees
Your listing agent is involved in this as well. Not only have you affected another party greatly by your decision not to sell, but you have cost your realtor time and money. They could end up suing you for lost expenses and commission. In other words, backing out of the sale of your home could be a smooth transition, or it could be a really big legal headache.
Read Every Contract
While buying and selling a home requires a lot of signatures, make sure you understand what you’re signing throughout the process. Your contracts could state something that helps to give you an out. A common item on contracts for sellers is “contingent upon seller finding suitable housing.” This would have had to have been present on your sales contract. Another saving clause is “gaining required approval from family members.”
Buyer’s remorse is still more common than seller’s remorse, but this kind of thing does happen. Just understand what the consequences are before you decide to back out of the sale of your home.