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Can I Terminate for Seller's Remorse?



We've accepted a registered offer on our home. We now have sellers’ remorse and would like to reject it before the home inspection. Can this be done? We have signed with a real estate firm.




Your question is a little short on information.


However, let me make some further assumptions:


1)     the property is listed through the MLS system,

2)     you signed the standard form MLS agreement,

3)     the offer was indeed accepted, so that you have a binding agreement,

4)     the buyer’s deposit has been paid in accordance with the terms of the agreement,

5)     there are no conditions in favour of the seller permitting the seller to withdraw from the transaction,

6)     there may be one or more conditions in favour of the buyer which would permit the buyer to withdraw, ie. financing and inspection.


In all probability, there is likely nothing which you can do from a legal perspective.


A “deal is a deal”. And, the Ontario Courts will enforce it.


So, if you have simply changed your mind, offer to compensate the buyer. Offer a sum of money which will be sufficiently attractive to permit the buyer to walk away from the transaction and buy something else.


Not too many people like that view, but it’s often the only option. And, it only works if it is handled early.


I suppose, there could be some additional issues if the real estate agent acted for both parties or is related to the buyer, but since those matters were not mentioned, these circumstances leave you in a rather difficult predicament. You have already sold, so there is no option available to “reject it” now.


In addition, you may still owe a real estate commission to the real estate agents even if the buyer accepts your offer of compensation.


If you wish to be strict and enforce your “rights”, then be sure to co-operate throughout the transaction but do not extend any time limits. Also, the transaction is to be “in writing”, so make sure you have a copy of the written agreement, and although the jury is still out on the Electronic Commerce Act, if the only documentation you have was by “e-mail”, you may have an opportunity to withdraw.


In that case, it would be wise to seek the advice of your lawyer or a solicitor practising in the real estate field.


Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker is a Manager at RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage 416-745-2300.