When can a buyer get out of a contract?
State of ownership: Virginia
We sold our home to a buyer and went through all stages of the process (contract ratification, home inspection, appraisal). Now that there are no opportunties for the buyer to back out, they want to cancel the contract. The reason given was divorce, but no supporting documents were supplied. If the reason is truthful, I feel badly for them, but such issues do not arise overnight.
The home has been off the market for a month during which we had several interested parties who wanted to submit a contract but we had to decline because we had a ratified contract. In short, we honored our contract while they opted to back out after the financing was approved, inspection passed, appraisal was above asking price, and all contingencies were met. All of which provided much easier ways to get out of the purchase.
I would be less angry had the buyer agent shown a little consideration. Instead, he chose to act as though we would certainly release the contract and refund the earnest deposit. I am certain that he would not do so if he was in our situation.
I see the contract as completely binding at this stage but I wonder what the buyers can do. Please advise. Do they just say tough, sue me? Obviously, we can keep the earnest deposit, but that doesn't mitigate our damages. Our damages include work done to meet their demands, time off the market, probable loss of income from the sale, and most likely increased cash outlay for our next home due to the extra time required to resolve this matter or find a new buyer.
How common is this sort of thing? Shouldn't the buying agent have told his clients that such a breach is no longer an option? Please advise based on your experiences. We have a good agent and have spoken to an attorney, but more information is always a good thing.