House deals happen all the time — and most of them go smoothly enough. But what happens when the deal starts to sour and you’re having second thoughts?

If you’re the potential buyer, backing out of your offer is usually fairly simple. Most of the time, buyers want out because one of the contingency agreements they have in their offer aren’t being met. Maybe the house didn’t pass its inspection, or the appraisal came in far too low. Failing that, buyers may simply decide to sacrifice their earnest money in order to escape a bad deal before the purchase agreement is signed.

What about when a seller wants to bow out of a deal? Sometimes, sellers have pangs of regret only after an offer has been accepted, but backing out of the deal is usually only possible when:

  • The contract still isn’t signed or it’s subject to an attorney review provision
  • The seller included a contingency clause that permits them to back out for some reason (like the failure to find a new home)
  • The buyer makes requests for repairs that the seller refuses to complete
  • The buyer fails to meet the contracts terms (usually, that means they’re unable to secure a mortgage within a specific period)

Absent one of these reasons, it’s very possible that you’re stuck with your deal. The thwarted buyer can take you to court to enforce the contract through specific performance, if they’re so inclined, or sue you for damages.

All real estate transactions can be fraught with anxiety — but none so much as the purchase or sale of a home. If you’re unsure about your legal options, talk to an experienced real estate attorney here in Florida about your situation.