The biggest fear a homebuyer experiences is, did I make the right decision?” They wonder if they could have gotten the house for less money, what if the house is a lemon, what if I lose my job or have an accident and can’t pay the monthly payment, are the seller’s hiding any issues with the house?
How do you get out of a contract if you find out if you find out your worst fears have come true? First, you must realize a real estate contract is legally binding. Do not sign a contract unless you understand all of what it says, and be sure you have the advice of a professional (your Realtor). Do not enter a contract with the idea of getting out of it if you aren’t 100% certain that entering into the agreement is what you want.
Next, you can rest assured because real estate contracts have clauses built in that typically allow a buyer or a seller to be “released” from their obligation under certain conditions. For a buyer, there usually is a contingency on obtaining financing, so if you can’t get the loan, you won’t get sued or be further obligated. That’s why your Realtor will ask if you’ve been pre-qualified with a lender before shopping for a new home.
Also, the buyer usually is allowed to have a professional home inspection and request repairs from the seller. This protects the buyer from purchasing a house in need of repairs or that has an issue the buyer is unaware of when they walked through and selected the house. Remember, the repairs you can request have to deal with major systems (plumbing, electrical, heat/air, roof, structure). The seller also is protected from having to fix a long list of ridiculous repairs by saying “No” to cosmetic improvements, grandfathered systems, or major repairs.
Ask your Realtor if the house is priced according to the condition it is in. If the repairs are not agreed, then most contracts will allow both parties to walk away from the contract. These are examples of a “way out” of the contract without being in default. Default occurs when you do not hold up your end of the bargain, without a valid reason.
The Virginia real estate contract is many pages of legal jargon. Be assured, your Realtor will walk you through all the various conditions of the contract so you understand your obligations and, if necessary, they will assist you with a release of contract.