There are of course times as a homeowner that you may have put your home on the market, and than life happens and you are either no longer able to sell, or you simply have decided this is not the right time for you to move. Now depending on where you are in the process of selling your home is really the key factor here.
On The Market With No Offers Or Contracts
If your home has been on the market for a day or a year, but you are not in contract you have the right as a homeowner to withdraw the listing from the market. Now there is a difference in withdrawing and releasing your listing so you should pay close attention to which one the company is agreeing to.
- Withdrawal - It means that the company is willing to pull the home off the market, but you will not be able to re list your home with another company until the original date of expiration.
- Release - This is where the company is not only willing to pull the home off the market, and allows you to re list it with any other company before your original listing agreement. IF you are pulling your home off the market because you are not happy with the company and the work they are doing for you this is what you would want for them to do.
We never want a homeowner to feel as if they are being forced to sell their home, but our job is to advise you what all your options are. With the fall and winter coming upon us I am hearing many sellers say they are not sure they want to stay on the market because they believe that the market is slowing down. This is only true to a point, and I have written about this quite frequently. Although we do not have the same quantity of buyers, we have a better quality of buyers because those who are out looking in these months are considerably more serious than those who come out "browsing" in the spring time.
On The Market With Accepted Offers
Now usually if you have gotten this far and accepted an offer something pretty drastic must have happened that you are not able to sell. If you simply have had a change in circumstance and must stay in your home than you must advise the buyers in a timely manner, you also must keep in mind you will have to reimburse them those fees that they incurred such as the home inspection.
Many times I see this happen is because a homeowner discovers they owe more than they thought, and the accepted offer is not what they need to sell. You have a few different options before backing out of the deal, first you MUST inform the buyers immediately of this change is circumstance. If you have suffered a hardship than a short sale may be an option for you, but your buyer would have to agree to this because it does change the terms surrounding the sale. Your other option is to simply bring the money that is missing to the closing table.
In either one of these circumstance again being honest with your agent is not only a must but you must inform them that these things could be potential issues before you list your home with them. I can't tell you how many homeowners run into an issue because they hoped it wouldn't be a short sale and attempted although not to be manipulative kept it from their agent.
Your Home Is Under Contract
This is where it can get tricky and you really must be careful. Most of the time the only provisions to be able to get out of a real estate contract is set up for the buyers. If you are in a position where you truly can NOT sell your home than you should know that it is not always as easy as the buyers agreeing to it.
- You will have to reimburse the buyers their out of pocket fees (deposit, home inspection fee, title fee, lawyer fees, survey fees, etc.)
- You do open yourself up to be sued by the buyers, in which case you can be forced to sell them the house. They can sue for specific performance because your breached the contract, although this is a lengthy and costly process not all buyers are willing to just walk away.
- Unfortunately you must also keep in mind that your real estate agent did their job, they brought you a buyer with a valid commitment to buy your home. It is not up to the agent whether or not they pursue being paid for that work, it is only up to their company.
- The buyers agent will also have the right to seek their compensation for bringing you this buyer. Even if the listing company does not want to seek their payment, they will be sued by the buyers broker. This is why many times listing companies are not left with much choice about whether or not they request compensation.
For those buyers who are reading this because they are currently in the process of dealing with this, my best advice to you would be to try and salvage the deal if you can. Keep in mind that life can throw curve balls at homeowners that they did not expect, and they may really not be able to sell. It is obviously upsetting to lose the home, but there are many homes on the market your buyers broker will work hard for you but their was no way for them to predict this happening even for the listing agent many times this call comes as quite the shock. For all parties involved open communication and honesty is the best way to deal with this kind of situation!