If you’re selling your home, it is vital that you be sure you really want to sell it. Aside from being illegal (most of the time), its extremely unethical to back out of a listing at the last minute when someone is counting on your home. It’s also very difficult to find loopholes that will allow you to back out. If you can’t back out, and you still want to sell it, you’ll probably pay legal repercussions unless your buyer decides to have mercy and just walk away.
Sometimes someone might change their mind because they don’t like the price of the offer. If this is the case, reject the offer. Don’t accept it, only to change your mind later. Other times, a seller may have recently lost their job, changed their mind about moving somewhere else, or any other possible reason. How to: Walk out of The Deal Unscathed.
If a seller is trying to get out of the contract, they should look at the contingencies of that contract. Such contingencies as the inability to get a mortgage, a bad appraisal and problems with the home inspection generally protect the buyer, but other conditions may work in the seller’s favor. If the contingencies don’t offer a way out, you’ll have to breach your contract.
As mentioned above, a buyer can take you to court if they’re angry enough. They can show the judge that they met every single contingency in the contract.
Unfortunately for the buyer, sometimes a judge won’t order the seller to still sell the house if they are currently living in it. It’s kind of hard to actually evict someone. The buyer still can sue you for any damages. For example, temporary housing (if they had already sold their previous home, and were expecting to move into yours soon). If it does come to a lawsuit, know that the court fees are going to be expensive. You could end up paying an arm and a leg for backing out of the contract.
You also might have to pay commission. There’s a law that if a realtor brings you a “willing and able” buyer; that is, a buyer that offers full price for the house, has a loan, and a check to purchase it, and you back out, that you still owe them the commission. You should note that most agents won’t let you get out of that one, and rightfully so.
There are some buyers that will accept your “I’m sorry,” and forgive you. In fact, some buyers even regret their offer, and want to back out. You might get lucky and have a buyer that felt the same way! See: How to Get out of a Real Estate Contract – Zillow.