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Is it possible for home sellers to reject offers after acceptance?

Many home buyers assume that the negotiating is over once they make an offer on a home and the seller accepts it. That’s not necessarily the case.

Just like there are instances in which buyers can pull out of a real estate deal, there are situations in which sellers can do the same. Your knowledge of what these are can aid you in avoiding potential litigation in the future. 

When can you reject a purchase offer after accepting it?

Whether you can pull out of the sale depends on what the provisions listed in your contract say. The contingencies listed there are often negotiable between buyer and seller. What terms did your realtor or real estate attorney advise you to include to protect yourself and your interests in that contract? 

Many of these professionals advise their selling clients to include contingencies that will allow them to pull out of the deal when:  

  • A buyer’s appraisal comes in at less than the agreed-upon price: Some sellers may choose to re-negotiate the price to offload the home in a situation like this. Others may be unable to do so because they simply can’t afford to take the cut in the price, for whatever reason.
  • The seller cannot find a replacement home: Many sellers include contingencies in their real estate contracts allowing them to pull out of the deal if they can’t find a suitable replacement home for themselves within a certain time. This may be particularly important in a “hot” real estate market.

It can be disheartening to learn that the purchase of your new home isn’t going to move forward after you’ve already set your plans in motion for your relocation. Carefully assess whether your seller’s reason for rejecting your offer after initially accepting it is valid so you can determine your legal options.