Seller backing out at last minute

Hi, I am in an odd situation. Less than a week left for closing, the seller is getting cold feet and is talking about not going through with the transaction. This is after the property has been on the market for almost a year and I’ve been working hard to accomondate the seller and have a smooth transaction. If the seller choose to not go through with the property sell (this close to closing) what recourse, if any, do I have to force the sell? Or, what recourse do I have in general. The Single Family Home property is in Tennessee.



This is yet another State to State issue! I know that you have a legal binding contract what does it say under buyers recourse! I know there is something there also was this property listed with a realtor? If so there should be some recourse on the that side as well if they had an agreement signed with them!

                                               Good Luck 


yes it was listed with an agency and they too are furious. The top person of the company is meeting with the seller personally to explain the current situation and ramifications. I’ll check my contract of sale documents and get back to you. Thanks.


Unless there is some clause in the contract that states the seller can back out, there is basically no legal way they can breach the contract. Generally, suit for specific performance is all you have. However, that costs money. If you are in a rapidly appreciating market then suing could mean several months of the property accruing value only to eventually be awarded to you by the court at the original contract price.

My guess is that the seller found a new buyer that is willing to pay closer to market value and that his cold feet are really just remorse. You have a few options. 1) Impress upon the seller (via his agent) that he is under contract and that (if stated in the contract) any losing party will be required to pay attorney’s fees and court costs to get him to the table. 2) let the seller out of the contract and move on; 3) Offer him more money to settle (bad idea IMO).

If legal remedies are sought, you should consult an attorney.

This is why we have “Contracts” they can’t just walk away without any recourse. They would obviously have to pay you back for any home inspections, pest inspections, appraisal fees, non refundable application fees etc. However depending on your situation it might be better to just find something else.
Good Luck

Robb is right (it’s state-to-state), but normally, the “liquated damage” is limited to the amount of the downpayment …that’s why poeple want a large one!


I don’t know where you are on the deal, but in a negotiating course I took, I learned that sometimes to get the best deal you need to walk away from the table. This technique causes a squishing sound to come out of the other person’s butt, and usually some more cash out of their pocket. In other words, it may be a game.

You might want to try it sometimes when you feel frisky.

<<I don’t know where you are on the deal, but in a negotiating course I took, I learned that sometimes to get the best deal you need to walk away from the table.>>

The time to play these games is during negotiations, not AFTER the contract is signed and you’re a few days away from the closing table. The “squishing sound to come out of the other person’s butt” would be my foot coming out and their wallet being extracted!


I agree 100% Keith I even go as far as to on the contract in the other provisions I write “This offer is non counter able this is the first and final offer” I know what I need to get out of the deal and that is that!

If this is a TAR contract, the Paragraph 15 discusses default. If the seller defaults, you can get your earnest money back and/or sue for specific performance. If you checked the mediation box in paragraph 16, you have to go to mediation first.