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December 29th, 2011

No. 2: ‘Seller’s remorse? How to back out of a home sale contract’



Money down drainNumber two on our Top 10 most popular articles of 2011 is, “Seller’s remorse? How to back out of a home sale contract.

Publish date: January 31, 2011
Written by: Marcie Geffner


You’ve finally gone to contract on your home, and now you’re sorry you have. How can you get out of the contract?

“A seller is best-advised to be absolutely firm about wanting to sell real estate,” says Joanne Fanizza, an attorney in Farmingdale, N.Y. It’s indeed good advice since, as Fanizza explains, sellers face high hurdles if they want to back out of a contract to sell their home.

“I’ve seen situations where sellers thought, ‘I’m just not going to sell.’ They think the house just isn’t for sale anymore. You can’t do that after you’re in contract,” she warns.

Sellers sometimes change their minds because they’re unhappy about the sale price or the cost of repairs, have lost a job, decided not to relocate to another state or are involved in a loan modification, short sale or foreclosure.

None of those excuses makes canceling a deal easy, however.

“Sellers have fewer options (than buyers), and pretty much, if the seller has seller’s remorse, they kind of have to throw themselves on their sword and say, ‘I am so sorry. I am so remorseful,'” Fanizza says.

Money talks, buyer walks

Some buyers will accept a seller’s apology and move on to another house, but others won’t be so understanding, even if the seller’s excuse seems valid to the seller.

All things considered, the best option for some sellers may be to try to compensate the buyers for their lost time, effort, expense and opportunity to purchase the home.

“Money,” Cammarosano observes, “solves a lot of problems.”

Read more from our ‘top 10 of 2011’ list:

No. 10: ‘Why is it so hard to be approved for a HARP refinance?’

No. 9: ‘Crazy to refi into an ARM? Not at all’

No. 8: ‘3 hot home renovations’

No. 7: ‘HARP 2.0: Your 5 steps to approval’

No. 6: ‘Do you have to pay your mortgage if your home is destroyed?’

No. 5: ‘Think like a criminal: 4 steps to securing your home’

No. 4: ‘Can you get out of a home purchase contract?’

No. 3: ‘4 experts forecast 2011 housing market’

For more on selling your home, read:

Is it time to take your home sale online?

Selling solo: 5 facts for selling your home on your own

Sellers: You’ve got to be realistic

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About the HSH Blog

HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

Our bloggers:

Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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