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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.

Transcript:

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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Cari McGee

Hi, I'm Cari McGee. 👋 I've lived in the Tri-Cities since 1994 and I've been a licensed Realtor® since 2004. That's a lot of local knowledge and real estate experience that I put into every article you read on my website! We've helped more than 560 families buy or sell property in the Tri-Cities. In 2023, our community voted us the bronze winner for Best Real Estate Team in the Tri-Cities Best voting. Learn more about me by clicking the link right above. And if you have any questions, get in touch anytime!

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