What Can You Do if the Seller Backs Out?

This article provides a brief summary of the steps you can take if a buyer is in contract to purchase property and the seller decides he or she doesn’t want to proceed with the transaction. Although from the New York Times, and therefore the context relates to New York, the principles remain the same in any region of the U.S. The basic premise of the article is that the seller cannot unilaterally back out of a contract as allowing this would undermine the entire reason to have a contract in the first place.  “A seller cannot merely change his mind and elect not to sell,” said David A. Kaminsky, a Manhattan real estate lawyer. “That is the whole point of having a written contract.”

Please keep in mind that this article does not constitute legal advice (and I do not practice law although I am an attorney.) For legal advice, please consult with a qualified expert in the legal area for which you seek advice. I know several excellent attorneys. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require referrals.



About the Author

Adam’s real estate experience encompasses residential sales, renovations, real estate development, property and asset management, and multifamily investment acquisitions. He has helped countless clients buy and sell property throughout the Bay Area, including in San Francisco, Marin County, Alameda County, San Mateo County, and Santa Clara County. He has overseen the condo conversion and major renovation of a two-unit building, and has worked on several affordable housing residential development projects with budgets exceeding $20 million, helping low-income families secure safe, affordable housing. He is currently working on a project that entails adding a condo unit to an existing building as well as a major horizontal expansion and renovation, increasing the total square footage to approximately 1500 square feet. Prior to working in real estate, Adam practiced immigration law and real estate law. His extensive background as an attorney and his broad real estate experience allow him to faithfully advance his clients’ interests in both the purchase and sale of real estate. Adam’s clients benefit from strong negotiation skills, contractual expertise, and deep knowledge of local rules and regulations.