Ridout Barron


Can a purchase agreement on residential real estate be cancelled?

Purchasing a dream home in Alberta can be an exciting experience, and submitting an offer to buy could be one of the most significant decisions anybody will make. But what would the options be if there are issues with the house or the finances that cannot be overcome? Once both the seller and the prospective buyer have signed the offer to purchase real estate, it becomes an agreement that is legally binding and enforceable.

Exceptions exist, one of which involves conditions that are not met. If the offer is subject to the buyer securing financing, the failure to get a mortgage can allow for the cancellation of the agreement. Another condition to be met could be for the property to pass a home inspection. Failure to make the necessary considerations, such as paying the required deposit might also lead to the cancellation of the offer to purchase, but it could also lead to the seller suing the buyer.

If an "act of God" prevents the buyer from taking possession of the home, the agreement will be cancelled. Although this hardly ever happens, it could involve fire or a flood that destroys the property. If the buyer has a change of heart after both parties signed the agreement and all conditions are met and the deposit paid, the seller can accept the cancellation, but he or she may decide to keep the deposit. If the cancellation caused unnecessary financial losses to the seller, he or she could sue the buyer.

Each home purchase is unique, and the documents and agreements that will need signatures are also not standard. Anyone wishing to make an offer on a house that is on the market in Alberta would be advised to secure the services of an experienced real estate lawyer from the start. With legal support and guidance every step of the way, chances of a smooth process will be higher -- even when circumstances warrant the cancellation of a purchase offer.

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Ridout Barron

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