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Can a seller get out of a signed contract after the buyer waits over two months to close?

At the end of August 2013, I entered into a contract for the purchase of a house in Texas. It is a cash transaction, no lenders no banks etc... We are due to close November 1st, 2013. I agreed to wait until November at the sellers request so they could find and purchase another house out of the area. About a month after signing the contract the realtor called and advised the sellers had entered into a contract purchasing another house. Yesterday, nine days prior to closing, the realtor contacts me and advises the sellers wish to terminate the contract and take the house off the market, and they are be willing to "return" the money in escrow.
I am in an area of Texas where real estate is at an all time high and property is selling with in days of being listed. And what five years ago was $30,000 is now $120,000. The house Under contract is not only what I like, but is what I need considering I have live stock.  At the time I entered into this contract there were several places that met my critirea, now with only eight days before close I began looking for alternate property and there is nothing, and I mean nothing that meets my criteria and is with in my price range.
I will be contacting an attorney this date, but what I really want to know is, 1) Can a seller back out last minute like this? Their excuse is not being able to qualify for a loan.  2) What are my chances of getting a judgement on my behalf and making the sellers sell in accordence with the contrat? and 3) how long does this process take?
I have read the contract numerous times, mostly it talks about the buyer backing out, it does say if the seller backs out and the buyer agrees the escrow will be returned, but what is the law on this?
It's a sad day when people do not stand by what they say, but it's even worse when one party thinks its "ok" to back out of a binding contract.
I shall get off my soap box.

Thank you
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October 24 2013 - West
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Answers (12)

I noticed this is from texas...But I would contact your lawyer about this. We cannot give legal advise. I wish you best of luck!
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October 25 2013
Ask your attorney about enforcing specific performance.  They entered into a contract and signed it, it's their fault for being stupid for not reading it.  I hope this serves as notice to anyone else that enters into any type of contract.  READ WHAT YOU SIGN!!!

Our Texas contracts have no way out for a seller to terminate unless you added language that wasn't already incorporated which doesn't seem to be.

Don't feel like a bad guy, you have been inconvenienced as well and put your life on hold waiting for them.  If you had a Realtor, you should have closed on the transaction ASAP and then have them rent from you until November.  This way you would only have to deal with an eviction if it came to it which is an easier process.  It would have given them also an incentive for getting their loan in order because they were committed.

Please do post an update, I would be curious to see what your attorney's advice.  Hopefully, it will work out well for all parties involved.

Naima
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October 25 2013
In VA we use "time is of the essence" language.
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October 25 2013
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Thank you for all replies. I have already talked to an attorney, although he is no longer in trial work, he did give me some good advise and a good firm  to contact. I will be making an appointment in the morning.
As for the contract, the only  clause provided was I would negotiate some time for them to move out after closing. The closing and sale of the property is not contingent on them actually having purchased a home of their choosing. It is all in writing, both parties signed and initialed. I picked up another copy of the contract this afternoon and re read the entire thing a long with the relator. Unfortunately the sellers did not read the contract before agreeing and signing.

I really dislike having to feel like a bad guy in this, but what is one supposed to do, roll over?
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October 24 2013
Contact your attorney and see if there was a time is of the essence clause in the contract.
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October 24 2013
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"I agreed to wait until November at the sellers request so they could find and purchase another house out of the area."

When you talk to an attorney, this will likely be the main point of questioning. What was the nature of this agreement, and how was it documented?

Potentially bad for you...
-- Buyer asked for extra time to close on a house.
-- You agreed.
--  The signed contract now contains a contingency that says sale is subject to seller finding/buying a new property.

Potentially good for you...
-- Buyer asked for extra time to close on a house.
-- You agreed.
-- The signed contract reflects a November closing date, but no contingencies.

For what it's worth, anyone can do anything, irrespective of a contract. The real questions are:
(a)  Can they be held liable for performance and/or damages?
(b)  Is it worth the effort to pursue legal remedy?

All of this, including opinions on your #2 and #3 are topics the attorney will be able to discuss with you.

If you can, please let us know how things turn out. Good luck.
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October 24 2013
I am sorry this happened to you.

The agreement between you and the Seller (as well as state law) will determine what your/their rights are.  Without seeing the agreement in its entirety, it is impossible to offer any advice other than "contact your attorney".

Good luck to you.
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October 24 2013
attorney, today!
I would hope that if an attorney sends out a letter pronto making them aware of what would happen if you sued them they rather perform...
Best of Luck!
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October 24 2013
I have to agree contact your attorney ASAP 
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October 24 2013
You said the Realtor called you.  Was that the seller's Realtor or your Realtor?  Did you have a buyer's agent?  While we cannot give legal advice, a buyer's agent may have been able to prevent this from happening.  Also, without seeing the forms you signed, no one can help you.  The standard real estate contact should address issues like these.
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October 24 2013
We are not attorneys as you know.  Rarely does this happen so I personally can't speak from experience.  I do know it is more difficult to hold the sellers feet to the fire wen it comes to performance then the buyers.

You are best advised to find a real estate attorney.
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October 24 2013
Contact your attorney and go over the contract and discuss buyers rights in Texas.

Best of luck.
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October 24 2013
 
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