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As the seller of a property, can I cancel or not extend a contract for sale if the reason for the extensions is my fault?

Walnut Creek, CA |

I am a real estate seller and have a contract to sell my property to a buyer in escrow. We have had many extensions due to an easement concern that still isn't resolved. We are currently out of contract because I didn't sign an additional extension. I would like to cancel the sale at this point. Can I do that and if I do what are the legal concerns? Can the buyer force me to sell it to them when the easement issue is cleared up?

Attorney Answers 2


The answer likely depends on the language of the contract.

Most realtor form contracts contain language permitting one to cancel if the land cannot be conveyed with "marketable title". An easement likely means that title is not marketable (some attorneys confuse insurable title with marketable title - they are two different concepts). There also may language regarding easements or other "encumbrances".

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.

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1 comment

Steven Jeffrey Mehlman

Steven Jeffrey Mehlman


An attorney needs to review the contracts, addenda, as well as any extensions and notices that have been given in order to advise you as to whether you are in a position to cancel. Even if the attorney believes that you are within your rights to cancel, the buyer could contend otherwise and might file a lawsuit, and record a lis pendens that would tie up the property in litigation so that it woiuld be very unlikely that anyone else would purchase it until the litigation is resolved or the lis pendens is removed..


I agree with Mr. Millar. The answer to your question depends upon the terms of the contract. However, assuming you are "out of contract because [you] didn't sign an additional extension", the sale may already be cancelled. You should have a local attorney review your contract.

Steven J. Willock has been licensed to practice law in California since 2000. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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