If you can be certain of one thing in life, it’s how uncertain life can be at times. You might think you have a solid plan in place, or the trajectory of your future figured out when, suddenly, something happens to change everything. For example, you might put an offer on real estate. The seller accepts it, but then something happens that compels you to rescind your offer.
There are real estate laws and regulations in Florida and every state that governs such matters. The question you must find the answer to is whether it is lawful to back out of a real estate offer once the seller has already accepted it. When you add your signature to a purchase agreement, you must then (legally) adhere to the terms of the contract. So, is it possible to rescind your offer if the seller has accepted it? Yes, if it aligns with your contractual terms.
A contingency clause is the key to lawful rescindment in real estate
When drafting the terms of your purchase agreement, it’s always best to include contingency clauses that will enable you to back out of your offer after the seller has accepted. Such clauses might include the reasons listed here as legitimate causes to rescind your offer:
- You were not able to secure a loan.
- The appraisal of the house is less than the price offered.
- A home inspector found serious problems.
- There are issues with the title of the home.
- You were unable to find a buyer for your current home.
- You (or your spouse, if applicable) became unemployed.
If you incorporate contingency clauses that cover these issues into your purchase agreement, you can rescind your offer after acceptance without penalty. If you rescind an offer without a contingency clause in place, several consequences may occur, including losing your earnest money.
Real estate disputes often arise over non-contingent rescindments
Whether you’re the buyer or seller, a non-contingent rescindment can spark legal problems. Especially if a seller already took the house off the market, things could get messy if a buyer tries to back out. Such cases often wind up in civil court.
At such times, it’s helpful to discuss the issue with someone who is knowledgeable about Florida real estate law. In certain circumstances, a seller would have the right to keep a buyer’s earnest money. In other cases, the seller might have to return it. Legal decisions regarding such matters typically hinge on the terms listed in the purchase agreement.