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Can you back out of a property sale?

Once you’ve signed a contract (offer to purchase) to buy or sell a home, it’s difficult to withdraw from the sale—whatever the reason.

An offer to purchase is a formal sales contract, so once it has been accepted and all the conditions have been met, the buyer and seller must abide by the terms. If they fail to do so, they may be subject to legal action. 

However, there are situations where it is possible to back out. The offer to purchase can be cancelled

  • with the mutual consent of the parties. So, it’s best to make sure this is stated in writing in the offer.
  • if a condition providing for cancellation is not met, e.g. the sale of the buyer’s property.

The legal implications are the same

If one of the above situations occurs, we highly recommend seeking advice from a lawyer or a DuProprio notary (or one in private practice). The legal implications are the same for buyers and sellers, who are bound by the same obligations, regardless of whether the transaction takes place with a real estate broker or not.

To avoid any misunderstandings and to make sure you understand the clauses and conditions when completing an offer to purchase, read our post Offer to purchase explained.