Skip to main content

What recourse does a home buyer have if the seller changes their mind after the sale has already occurred?

San Jose, CA |

A friend of mind (who is older and not very internet savvy, btw) was upside down in his home loan. The value of the home was approx $300k and the home loan was approx $450k. He had owned and lived in the home for approx 10 years, but became unemployed and was unable to find work for about a year. During that time, his financial situation became such that he was going to have to dip into his retirement savings just to keep up with the payments. He sought the advice of a home loan professional who was able to help him short sell the home. He had moved out a couple months ago, and his home was sold to a new buyer. Now he wants to see if he can reverse the whole thing, and wants to try to hang on to his home. He was told that he could do that, but the new buyer may put up a big fight.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 4


The new owner of the real estate has no duty whatsoever to sell it back to the former owner.



OK, thanks. Forgot to mention: Does it matter if new owner has taken possession or or moved in yet?

Kristine S Karila

Kristine S Karila


No! If escrow closed and the new owner owns it, he/she can do whatever they want - move in, not move in, etc. You can only force the recission of the contract if there was fraud, etc. by the new owner. Imagine if you bought a house or a car or anything else and the person who sold it to you came back later and said they changed their mind. How would you feel? The former owner can ask the new owner if he/she will sell it back, but the new owner has no duto to do so.


Unless there was fraud involved, coercion, or other arguments can be made as to why the contract was void or voidable, the sale is a done deal.

Our replies to Avvo questions should not be considered specific legal advice to any individual, and no attorney-client relationship is formed with you. Our aim is to provide general principles that may be useful to the Avvo community as a whole. You should seek individual legal advice pertaining to your specific factual situation, and the laws applicable to your jurisdiction. Moore & Moore Attorneys at Law --


Theoretically, a real property sale agreement can be set aside after it is concluded, but your friend would have to have some fairly unique issues to succeed in an attempt to rescind that transaction. Things like fraud, mutual mistake, undue influence and unconscionability are grounds to set aside an agreement. But establishing them are difficult. The law generally favors finality in contracting, so it makes it very hard for people to undo contracts when they have second thoughts about it.

Good luck to you and your friend.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.


A new home buyer is the legal owner of the home. The only option your friend has is to make an offer to buy the home from the new buyer. That’s the only realistic option available.

This participating Attorney does not warrant any information provided, nor are we creating an Attorney-Client relationship by providing said information to you on this site. Nothing contained herein is intended to constitute, offer, induce, promise, or contract of any kind. The content provided is presented as a courtesy to be used only for informational purposes and is not represented to be error free. The Law Offices of John N. Kitta makes no representations or warranties of any kind with respect to its answer to inquiries, and such representations and warranties are being expressly disclaimed. Given limited facts, we are attempting to share relevant information concerning this area of the law as a public service.

Real estate topics

Recommended articles about Real estate

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer