I'm in Washington state. We are selling a single family residence to a buyer.
The contract was done using a standard Northwest MLS Purchase and Sale agreement with a standard 22A Financing Addendum.
According to the contract, the Buyers are supposed to close next Tuesday, but they don't have a closing date scheduled yet and it looks like it might be delayed at least a week - or more - it's unknown.
Since the buyers are not going to perform on time, I would simply like to CANCEL our agreement, return the earnest money to the buyers, and sell the home to my backup offer (who is ready to close on Wednesday of next week - one day after the original buyers closing date).
Frankly, the backup offer is better and I don’t want to sit around and wait for these buyers (who have been late on everything so far - I have very little confidence in them closing).
When can I terminate the agreement: Tuesday, Wednesday, or other? Is it mandatory that I give the buyers notice and some time to remedy first, or can I simply cancel? (Again: I am using the standard Northwest MLS contracts, as mentioned before, with no modifications).
Answering your question would require a review of the entire contract, to see whether there are any clauses that (1) allow you to terminate the agreement between now and closing, or (2) the Buyers have materially breached the contract, meaning failed to meet one or more of their duties under the contract.
Since the closing date has not yet passed, it does not appear from your description that the Buyers have breached the contract. It is possible for them to commit breach by "anticipatory repudiation," such as if they say they cannot or will not be able to make the closing date. In that case, you may have a case for terminating the contract. But I can't tell from your description if that has happened. It is also possible the Buyers have breached in the past (as you said, they "have been late on everything else"), but if you accepted those late submissions, it may be too late say those were "material" breaches allowing you to terminate the contract.
It is best to be careful in this assessment. If there is no basis in the contract for you terminating it at this time, and the Buyers are not in breach, and you attempt to terminate the contract anyway or refuse to cooperate with the sale, then you would be in breach, and you could be liable. You also may want to consider that even if you are legally correct, but the Buyer thinks you are not and tries to fight you in court, that could cost you attorney's fees and tie up the sale of your home for months or even years.
If the closing date passes and the Buyers have not closed or exercised any rights under the contract to extend the closing date, you'll have a much stronger argument for terminating the contract based on the Buyer's breach.
Due to the complexity and fact-specific nature of real estate transactions, your best bet is to talk to a real estate attorney and determine a game plan for completing the sale of your home as quickly and efficiently as possible without risking costly litigation.
This response is only general information based on extremely limited facts and is not legal advice. It does not form an attorney-client relationship and should not be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. Please seek the advice of a qualified attorney.
Years licensed, work experience, education
Peer endorsements, associations, awards
Publications, speaking engagements