Seller Contract Cancellation

10 Replies

Hello, I have searched the forum but do not see what I am looking for so hopefully someone will lend some experience here.

Here's the story: I listed my home and accepted an offer which I stated was my last and final with no other concessions. The buyer had a termite inspection done and the examiner determined there was previous damage so the seller wanted a full termite treatment and repairs. While I can understand that I stated I would not put one more penny into the house for any concessions. In the TTR it states after 7 days I as the seller could cancel teh contract and have earnest monies returned. I did so and now the agent is staing that the buy is going to sue for damages.

The "damages" are this: He supposedly halted an expansion of this business in order to free up funds to acquire the house and now states he will have lost revenue.  There may be expenses related to an appraisal, survey etc but noting else.

His business decisions and the purchase of a residential property are not linked in the contract two very separate things.

My take is this is a joke, but I have put a call into my RE attorney. I would appreciate any feedback.

Thanks,

Dennis

Agreed his supposed “business damages” are irrelevant.  But, what language gives you the Seller the right to cancel? 7 days after what?   Is the buyer obligated to “remove” some contingency by a certain time?  Simply requesting additional repairs/concessions doesn’t cancel a contract.

Your instincts are correct. I had something similar happen to me. The buyer actually took me to court but he lost. I counter sued for costs and won that too. 

Thanks for the input.

The TTR states the seller can cancel 

"In 7 days if a written agreement is not reached  within the specified time in the provision, contract shall terminate and and earnest money returned to buyer"

If I understand the events correctly:

1.  Buyer made you an offer for your property.

2.  You accepted the offer.

3.  There was a contingency in the offer calling for a pest inspection.

4.  Evidence of termite damage was found and the buyer wants you to pay for cure.

5.  There is a written provision that allows you to back out of the transaction subject to 

     return of buyers earnest money.  You have done this.

I am no lawyer but I fail to see how the buyer and his agent can hold you liable for performance unless there was language in the accepted offer that held you responsible for curing any deficiencies discovered.  Certainly holding you responsible for the temporary  loss of the use of his funds is a huge stretch.

One thing that confuses me is the "TTR" provision.  Is this a general "time is of the essence" provision that is binding to both parties or a provision drafted for this particular case?

Does your contract discuss consequential damages in any way?  In any event, for the buyer to win such damages (business loss) he would have to prove that some significant window of opportunity closed during the time period in which he was under contract with you.  If that period was 7 days, as it seems, he will be laughed out of court.    

He would also have to prove it was reasonably foreseeable that your cancellation of the contract would cause his business loss.   

An attorney is the best place to get advice on this matter. It sounds like you acted within the scope of the 7 day window, but the entire contract should be considered to be sure. Additionally, there might be a liquidated damages clause that would preclude anything the buyer is claiming anyway.

Read your contract through, as many standard contracts do have built-in protections that if termite/moisture or lender-required repairs are found, seller agrees to cover up to x% (and it usually states, if no number entered, parties agree to 1% of purchase price).  But your agent should have notified you of that and had you change it to 0% in that paragraph the second you stated you wanted the sale as-is, no obligation to make any repairs.  If there is no clause like that, then I'm not a lawyer, no legal advice, but I would think the written contract would prevail, so unless buyer wrote it in there that you would cover his outside business expenses, which you wouldn't have signed, then you should be protected by the contract.