Real Estate Q&A
Welcome to Ask Dave, the weekly Q&A designed to answer your questions about the local real estate market. The author, Dave Kimbrough, has a decade’s worth of experience helping clients buy and sell homes in the Grand Valley. He is a Realtor, a Certified Negotiation Expert and a member of the Grand Junction Area Realtor Association. He leads The Kimbrough Teamat RE/MAX 4000 and specializes in residential sales.
Ten days ago my wife and I accepted a contract to sell our home, two days ago the job I was moving away for fell through. The buyers are refusing to cancel the contract, they still want to purchase our home, but we don’t want to sell if we are not moving. What options do we have, if any? Also, what happens if we decide not to show up to close?
— Raymond and Louise
Raymond and Louise,
This is not a good position for you to be in. I am going to probably confirm what your real estate agent has, hopefully, already told you. I do suggest you speak to an attorney and discuss what other legal options you may have, but as I see it, you are selling your home to this buyer. The question is likely to be how painful and stressful do you want it to be? You do have the option of not showing up on closing day, but be forewarned that you will be in full breach of your contract and you would open yourself up to significant liability and an expensive legal battle. Should you decide to be a “no show” at closing, you need to consult legal council and understand the consequences of your decisionbefore you act.
In the state of Colorado, you have signed a contract and both parties,the buyer and seller, are bound by the terms of the contract. A binding contract for the seller’s side is much more difficult to break. There are very small windows of opportunity (like during the inspection) to “wiggle” out of the deal, as a seller, but much more “wiggle room” on the side of the buyer. Bottom line, you are moving if the buyer really wants your house! The real questions are, how long will it take for the buyer and their attorney to get you moved out? And, how much will it cost you to fight the inevitable ending?
One option you might try, offer to pay the buyer out of the contract. Is it worth $10,000 to stay put and have them walk away from the contract? We have tried it twice, without success, but both buyers were very intrigued and seriously considered the option. If they buyer is willing, this is a no-harm, no-foul way to stay in your home and potentially have a buyer who is better off financially for their good will and you get to keep your home for a price probably less than moving expenses. If this option fails and your attorney has no other advisable options,accept the fact, you are moving. Remember it is not the buyers’ fault — they entered into the contract, as you did, in good faith. It is your job that has fallen through and although this is a bad situation, it is of no fault of the buyer. These things happen and you must trust that where one door closes, another opens. Show up to close with a smile and wish the new owners the best in their new home. Follow through on your contract in a professional manner and move forward with dignity, even though it may not feel very good. It is the right way to handle it.
The Kimbrough Team
RE/MAX 4000, Inc