Can You Change Your Mind?

What happens if you change your mind about the house and want to scrap your purchase plans after you have signed a contract? You may still have an out. If you included a subject-to-a-lawyer's-review contingency clause in the contract, the lawyer may be able to let you off the hook. She is likely to find something that does not set well with you, or you might not meet one of the contingencies of the contract. For example, you may find the inspection report too negative and determine you do not want the problems that come with that particular house.

Once everyone finally agrees on price, closing date, some contract contingencies, and what goes with the house, you might consider the house sold, go out, and buy a bottle of champagne. Wait! Don't uncork it yet; save it for after the home inspection and the closing.

However, after all contingencies have been met, the contract is legal and binding. If you've changed your mind, your only recourse is the mercy of the sellers, and they may have none. They might choose to let you out of the contract, but they might want to keep your $500 or $1,000 earnest money. (To try to get that sum returned would cost you more in legal fees than the money at issue.) A sympathetic seller may also give you back your earnest money if he is able to sell the house quickly to another buyer.

But if indecision is your forte or you have some doubts about the particular house you have signed a contract to buy, it is wise to try to cancel the deal as soon as possible. Certainly, you do not want to back out after you have paid the deposit on that property!

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