Jan. 8, 2013
Dear George: My dad is supposed to close on the sale of his ranch in a week. However, he’s been in and out of the hospital and no longer wants to sell. What will happen if he backs out? Will the buyer sue, and for how much can he sue?
Answer: Contracts mean something. The buyer can sue for specific performance and damages in most circumstances. The total amount would be the amount of the agreed-upon sale price plus whatever the damages and court costs are. Before he breaks the contract, see if the buyer would be willing to negotiate a fee in exchange for a mutual rescission of the contract. If the buyer refuses such an agreement, the sale will go through. Keep in mind that the real estate agents, if any, have earned their commissions even if the buyer agrees to cancel the contract.
E-mail a question to ask George & Chuck or fax it to 713-978-6684. The answers to questions in this column do not contain legal advice. If you wish to obtain legal advice, you should consult your own attorney.