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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.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Best answer

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


  2. 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.

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  3. 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.

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  4. 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.

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