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Can I Sue For Breach of Real Estate Contract?

By OPLawSocialMedia on Real Estate

Roy Oppenheim of Oppenheim Law discusses the implications of breach of real estate contract. He states that when sellers breach the contract, buyers can sue for specific performance, forcing the seller to sell at the agreed price. Alternatively, they can seek the return of their deposit and reimbursement of expenses incurred. He advises seeking legal counsel to navigate such issues, and stresses the importance of trying to resolve disputes through negotiation, mediation, or arbitration before resorting to court action.

Full transcript:
Hi, Roy Oppenheim for Oppenheim Law. One of the questions we frequently get is can I sue for breach of real estate contract? So, I really don’t know what that means because I don’t know if I’m representing the buyer or the seller. I don’t know if the buyer breached or the seller breached. So let’s do both, okay?

If I’m buying a piece of real estate and the seller breaches because the seller has changed their mind and doesn’t wanna proceed with the closing. If the seller, maybe something happens to them, maybe they thought they were gonna be changing jobs and changing areas and they are not moving now, or someone got sick, or maybe they feel they sold it for too little. If the seller decides to change their mind, you can sue the seller for specific performance. And that means you can force them to sell the property to you at that price that you agreed on. Even if it takes the court two years to come to a conclusion on the matter, the price of that home, of that property will be what you contracted for. The seller, in the meantime, gets to stay in the home, they can lease the home, and they can do what they want. And if the price continues to go up, that’s great for the buyer because now they’re basically locked in a price of a lower price for property that has gone up in value. The converse is that if the price drops, the buyer may decide not to want to proceed with the deal after all, because they’re going to be paying too much for a piece of property that, in fact, has dropped in value. So, those are the options that a buyer has for a breaching seller if in terms of suing.

The other options that a buyer has is to get their deposit back, because you don’t get your deposit back while you’re doing this, it stays in escrow, to get your deposit back and try and negotiate some financial remedy for the costs associated with the seller changing their mind. And what are those costs? Those costs could be having moved out of the house, having to find new dwelling, surveys, legal fees, appraisal fees, inspection fees, all those things that you typically would have when you’re going to buy a piece of property, you have all these fees. So you’d want all those expenses reimbursed because the seller changed their mind and it has cost you. So if you get all your costs back and your money back, maybe you say, “I’m not gonna sue them, I’m not gonna, you know, spend a ton of money on an attorney.” And sometimes you may think you have an ironclad case and you may not. You don’t know sometimes if the seller has some other way to wiggle out of the contract based on the facts and circumstances which I don’t wanna get into right now.

But we have represented both buyers and sellers when, in fact, there’s been a breach of contract and, in fact, it goes to court. Our preference is always to try and resolve these matters, you know, through settlement, negotiation, mediation, arbitration. But sometimes, you know, that doesn’t work and you have to go to court. So, whatever it is, when you’re in these circumstances, whether you’re a buyer breaching, seller breaching, or you’re in a contract where you’re the buyer and the seller breached, or you’re the seller where the buyer breached, regardless, any one of those circumstances, you should consider calling us, Roy Oppenheim for Oppenheim Law.