Can a Seller Back Out of a Contract?

So many words have been spent over the years on the concept of buyers’ remorse and yet sellers’ remorse does exist.

The problem is the Arizona Association of REALTORS Residential Real Estate Resale Purchase Contract doesn’t allow for it.

Once a seller signs of on a contract to make it executed, there are no outs. Buyers have several points in which they can change their mind, the seller has zero.

This isn’t to say that a seller who accepted a contract absolutely must sell – no one can force you at gunpoint to do so. But changing one’s mind turns a simple sale into a legal minefield where the best ally a seller can have is a real estate attorney as there may be damages due the buyer.

Which all makes the best advice this – if you’re putting your home on the market, and if you’re about to sign a contract to sell the place, make sure you’re ready. Because you really do need to be.

Photo credit: SrLegYnnek via Flickr Creative Commons

Can A Seller Back Out of a Purchase Contract

Another common question from sellers is whether the seller can change their mind once they’ve signed and executed a purchase contract.

There’s a two-part answer for this one. Yes, the seller can change their mind and refuse to sell. No one can force a seller to sign the deed, no one can force the seller to honor the contract – well, theoretically a judge or mediator can but I’ve not heard of it happening.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be ramifications if a seller simply changes his mind. Think of the expenses borne by the buyer – an appraisal, home inspections, possibly moving costs. It’s conceivable a seller could be responsible for all of these if they are in breach of the contract, if not more once damages are considered.

Bottom line is before a seller decides not to sell after an executed purchase contract is in place, that seller needs to talk to a real estate attorney post haste to find out what the ramifications of such an action might be.

Talking to your agent isn’t going to be sufficient – we’re expert in bringing buyers and sellers together and getting the contract executed; the best way to break that contract is in the purview of the attorneys.

Photo credit: giumaiolini via Flickr Creative Commons

Should I Replace the Roof?

One of the biggest questions when a homeowner gets ready to list a home is what needs to be done or repaired before a home goes on the market. And one of the items most asked about is the roof, particularly if that roof is asphalt shingle.

If the roof is worn – if there’s hail damage left from two years ago, or if the texture has eroded after years in the sun and the elements – odds are the buyers’ home inspector is going to notice.

Whether a seller has to do anything depends in no small part on market conditions – in a strong sellers’ market, a homeowner can tell a buyer asking for any major repair to take a hike and then move on to the next buyer. But outside of those limited timeframes, and particularly in cases where an FHA or VA loan is involved, some decisions need to be made.

In Arizona, homes can have two layers of asphalt shingle – used to be three, but code since has been changed. So if a home has one worn layer of shingle at the moment, a homeowner can add that second layer for considerably less money than the cost of a full removal and installation. If there are two layers already, that’s a different story.

Some owners ask whether buyers care if the home’s already on its second asphalt shingle layer; the overwhelming answer is no, not as long as the roof is in good condition at the moment. Two-layer roofs are far too prevalent for buyers to be overly concerned about their existence.

Keep in mind, this is just general advice. For information specific to your home, call us at 602-502-9693 or e-mail me at info at


Phoenix Real Estate Sellers: Will You Stop at Getting Back to Even?

It is upon the bedrock concept of getting back to even that Las Vegas has been constructed.

Just one more hand, just one more roll of the dice, just one more turn of the wheel will spark the small run needed to dig out of the hole and get back to even.

Except, in 99 cases out of 100, things don’t quite work out that way. And in the off chance that they do, that we actually do get back to where we started, all of the promises we have made to ourselves and the gambling gods to walk away and never play again, to stop smoking, to be nicer to our fellow man … all go out the window for one simple reason …

We’re now on a winning streak and, as was pointed out in Bull Durham (paraphrasing of course), “You never mess with a winning streak.”

And so we continue on until we’ve fallen back below our starting point and the cycle continues.

Many Phoenix homeowners currently are in the first phase of this cycle, having ridden the market downward for several years and finally seeing some appreciation.

If only the market continues at this pace, they believe, they’ll get back to even on their homes and then … then they will be able to sell with their minds at ease.

Except they’re not going to sell if and when that happens. The losses, the downward risk, the sleepless nights, all will be forgotten because, for the first time in a half-decade, they are on a winning streak.

Maybe it will last. Maybe it won’t. Just know if you’re currently holding off on selling only because you’re waiting to get back to even, when the time comes, you’re still not going to be satisfied with the value of your home.

For you, there never will be an ideal time to sell. And that, friends, is going to be a problem one day or another.

The Vegas skyline doesn’t lie.

Photo credit: Larry Lobster via Flickr Creative Commons

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