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What Happens When a Party Gets Cold Feet After Entering Into a Real Estate Purchase Contract in Rhode Island?

The purchase, sale, and transfer of real estate assets in Rhode Island are governed by specific regulations and statutes that are designed to protect the rights of all parties to a sales agreement. Many things can happen between an agreement being reached and the closing that can derail a real estate transaction. For various reasons, buyers and sellers may wish to delay or cancel a purchase agreement after the contract has been signed. The Rhode Island Superior Court recently addressed a claim by the prospective buyers of a residential home against the seller, who had allegedly refused to continue with the transaction on the scheduled closing date.

The reasons that a party may wish to back out of a real estate transaction can vary. Sometimes, quick fluctuations in the market can discourage a party from following through with the transaction. If a buyer has trouble securing financing, it can also prevent a deal from going through. In the recently decided case, it is not clear why the defendant chose not to follow through on the sale of the property the plaintiffs were purchasing, but on the date of the closing, he backed out of the agreement. According to the facts discussed by the superior court, the plaintiffs were ready, willing, and able to follow through with the sale. The plaintiffs even had the full purchase price (over $600,000) waiting in escrow to complete the transaction.

Because the defendant refused to proceed with closing on the agreed-upon date, the plaintiffs pursued a breach of contract action in Rhode Island state court. State courts are allowed to grant equitable relief in real estate contract cases. Rather than awarding monetary damages as is usually done in response to a legal claim, a court grants equitable relief by forcing a party to perform a certain action. In this real estate contract case, the plaintiff was seeking an equitable remedy for the court to force the defendant to sell the property as agreed to in the real estate purchase contract.

The Superior court rejected the defendant’s reasons for failing to perform on the contract, finding that the plaintiffs were always ready and willing to follow through with the sale. The court determined that the defendant’s justifications for pulling out of the sale before closing were not valid. As a result of these findings, the court has ordered the defendant to complete the sale of the property to the plaintiffs.

If you are looking to buy or sell real estate in Rhode Island, the risk of a deal falling through unexpectedly is real, and the consequences of such an issue can be costly. Having a skilled and knowledgeable Rhode Island Real Estate lawyer representing you through the process can prevent the other party from backing out on their terms under a contract. The experienced Rhode Island real estate attorneys at Bilodeau Capalbo, LLP are prepared to help you avoid all of the possible obstacles that could come in the way of your transaction. Our dedicated advocates will work hard throughout the process to ensure that your rights are protected. If you have questions about a Rhode Island property or real estate issue, call us at 401-300-4055 for a free consultation.

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