Ask the REALTOR: Can a seller get out of the deal as easily as a buyer can?

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Ask the REALTOR® is a regular video series in which I answer your most commonly-asked real estate questions, with a new Q&A posting every week. If YOU have a real estate question for me, drop me a note here.

This week’s question: Can a seller get out of the deal as easily as a buyer can? Here’s the answer in this brief video, and don’t miss the transcript below.

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Hi. This is Cari McGee with Keller Williams Real Estate. Welcome to this week’s episode of “Ask the REALTOR.” Every week I answer questions from buyers and sellers — and pretty much everyone in between — regarding real estate. This week’s question is,

“What if a seller changes his or her mind? Can they get out of the deal just like a buyer can?”

Well, a buyer can get out when they have a contingency that’s not being met. Contingency is basically, “I will buy this house contingent upon this happening.” If something must happen in order for the contract to be fulfilled, that’s a contingency. If something should or could happen, that’s “subject to.” So if there’s a contingency in place, then these things have to happen in order for the buyer to proceed with the sale.

A seller does not really have those same protections. It’s kind of funny, I was talking about it this weekend with some clients. We were writing an offer and I was going over with them all the ways they could get out of the deal if they needed to, and they asked if the seller could also change their mind and if they had the same kind of recourse that they had as a buyer, and they really don’t.

Many, many years ago sellers held all the cards, and then the pendulum swung the other way, buyers held most of the power at this point. And so if a seller decides to not sell their house after already getting past the buyer’s contingency periods and they change their mind, they’re pretty much out of luck because then a buyer can sue the seller for specific performance and it’s just not a good situation. And fortunately, being a seller is a pretty intensive endeavor. You don’t usually embark upon that unless you’ve already made up your mind very seriously that this is something you’re going to do and follow through to the end. It’s not usually a lark.

So, if you have any questions for me regarding real estate, by all means, give me a shout via any one of the methods that are to follow on the screen that comes up next. Thanks so much. Have a great week. Bye.

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About The Author
Cari McGee

My husband and I came to the Tri-Cities in 1994, and we thought it would be a temporary stop on our way to larger cities. He was a television sports anchor at the time, and we planned to go wherever the "next step up" took us. Twenty-plus years later, we're still here and we've loved every minute of it! We have two children now, and we've found the Tri-Cities area is a wonderful place to raise a family. It's a great place to do outdoorsy things -- I like to hike Badger Mountain or run along the river path. I also love reading ... by a cozy fire in the winter or a beautiful picture window in the summer (with the A/C on!). I've been a licensed Realtor since 2004. I earned my managing broker's license in 2016, which means I can run my own brokerage, or create a team of real estate agents and supervise them, which is exactly what I did when I formed the Cari McGee Real Estate Team in 2018! We have administrative and marketing personnel, as well as additional agents to serve you. I became a director of the Tri-Cities Association of Realtors Board of Directors in 2016, became Secretary/Treasurer of the organization, and was elected to Vice President in 2019. Want to talk about real estate? Click here to schedule a meeting with me!

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