First off, I’m a licensed Texas REALTOR®, not an Attorney. For legal advice on a real estate transaction, consult a Real Estate Attorney. Consumer complaints may be directed to the Texas Real Estate Commission.
Here’s what I can tell you about backing out of a contract:
“I WANT TO BACK OUT ‘JUST BECAUSE'” – In the state of Texas, our residential purchase contracts include a clause offering an “Option Period.” An Option Period is a window of time a Buyer can “Opt-Out” or “Opt to stay in” a contract. The buyer pays the seller a sum of money (negotiable) for the right to terminate the contract for ANY reason. And yes, during an Option Period, the buyer can opt-out for no reason at all.
“Are there other ways I can back out of a contract legally and without penalty?” In short, yes, but there could be consequences. Make sure you understand your rights and the deadlines involved. As always, be sure to consult your REALTOR® and/or Real Estate Attorney for advice specific to your needs.
Below are some examples of how a buyer may be able to terminate a contract (and possibly receive a refund of earnest money) – deadlines must be met and specific terms MUST be outlined in a contract:
- if the Buyer does not qualify for a mortgage
- if the Buyer learns a pool cannot be installed due to easements or deed restrictions
- if the Buyer objects to issues found on a property survey
- if the Buyer objects to issues found on a Title Search
- if the Buyer objects to accepting environmental hazards (e.g. lead-based paint)
- if the Buyer learns about undisclosed issues about a property
- if the Buyer does not receive certain documents by specified deadlines
- other terms may be applicable
Have a question for me? Send them my way. If I don’t have the answers, I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction.
“Coaching First-Time Texas Home Buyers and Sellers.”
If you still have questions about the home buying process, I am at your service SEVEN DAYS A WEEK! I’m “on-call” even after everyone else clocks out!