Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Oklahoma

Seller backs out of contract

We are under contract on a house. The seller has just closed on another house, but has decided he wants to sell that one and keep ''our'' house. We have kept up our part of the contract and he has denied access for inspections. The house is a good deal and we want it, or might consider some type of settlement. What rights do we have? Can we still end up with the house? What penalties can possibly be imposed on the seller for failure to comply with contract. He just wants us to go away!

Asked on 5/17/01, 9:54 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jimmy D. Turner Jimmy D. Turner , Attorney at Law

Re: Seller backs out of contract

The exact terms of your contract will generally govern the rights of the parties. If it does not provide that the seller can unilaterally cancel the sale, then he cannot do so.

Ordinarily, in Oklahoma, the parties to a binding contract for the sale of real estate have the remedy of "specific performance." That is, the aggrieved party can go to court and, upon proper proof and after affording due process of law, obtain an order requiring the other party to perform as agreed. In your case, the court would order the seller to permit the inspections as provided in the contract and to deliver a proper deed to you conveying title to the premises as provided in the contract. The aggrieved party may also seek damages, and the prevailing party may be awarded attorney fees and court costs.

You should have had the services of an attorney at some point in this transaction unless you have been relying entirely on a real estate broker and title insurance. If so, consult him or her. If not, contact an attorney and advise him or her of all of the facts. An attorney may be able to assist you in persuading the seller to comply voluntarily or in negotiating a favorable settlement of the matter. If all else fails, the attorney can prepare proper pleadings for filing in court and a summons for serving on the seller.

As usual, there may be time limits stipulated in your contract or provided by general law, and statutes of limitation may also be involved, so do not delay.

This response does not create an ongoing attorney-client relationship, which will require further arrangements.

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Answered on 6/24/01, 1:08 pm

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