When Can You Withdraw an Offer on a House?

Purchasing your own home has long been a dream of many people. You’ve finally made the decision to make an offer on your ideal home. After you’ve completed all of the other requirements, the only thing left to do is sign the contract.

However, you may feel as if you had a superior option in your palm. So, in Canada, can a buyer pull out of an accepted offer? You should not buy a house if you have even the slightest doubts.

Here are a few things to consider if you want to withdraw an offer on a home.

When is it too late to back out of a home purchase?

When there are no contingency periods, it is easier to back out of a house purchase before signing the contract. You’ll have a much tougher time getting out of that situation or the contingency term without falling into legal or financial difficulties beyond that point.

Some countries require both parties to agree to mediation if there is a conflict. That means you’ll have the chance to directly present your case to the vendor, with the help of a neutral mediator. And it’s possible that you’ll be able to resolve the situation without having to go to court.

What are the ramifications of breaking a home purchase contract?

Simply expressed, the contract’s length is dependent on the possibility of anything going wrong. Buyers will undoubtedly withdraw out of their commitments if the property market experiences a downturn. Let’s say a house is worth $500,000 this month. A buyer agrees to pay that amount for the house, but the market drops before the closing date, lowering its value to $400,000.

The same issue can develop if the lender’s appraisal is lower than the seller’s initial asking price. Whatever the reason for the buyer’s withdrew offer, they may face serious legal penalties if they do not adhere to the contract’s terms and conditions.

When a buyer fails to finish the agreed-upon transaction, the deposit is frequently the first thing they lose. The seller will keep the deposit if the contract stipulates that the seller has the right to keep it if the potential buyer fails to meet the contract’s specified terms.

If no such agreement was made in the deal, the deposit will be held by the seller’s mortgage broker, who will not be able to lawfully release it to the parties involved until a legal order is produced.

If the prospective buyer breaks the terms of their contract, they may face even harsher consequences, including a costly lawsuit brought by the seller. If the seller sells their home to someone else, the potential buyer may be held liable for the price difference in many cases.

Withdrawing an offer on a house that included a contingency

A typical real estate contract has various contingencies, or requirements that must be met before moving forward with your home purchase. This entails a common knowledge of specific tasks that must be completed within a certain time frame.

Homebuyers may include requirements for a house inspection in their contract. It may entail receiving credit from a creditor, selling their current property first, or valuing the home at a lower price than the buying price. In other words, you can easily back out of a contingency-based agreement and keep your earnest money investment.

Assume a home inspection report reveals costly issues such as a leaking roof or foundation cracks. If the seller refuses to fix the problem, you can back out of the deal or offer closing cost credits if you have a property inspection contingency in place. The finance backup plan is another important safeguard. It gives you a way out if your lender refuses to approve your loan.

Keep a close eye on the agreement’s contingency timelines. You might be expected to perform a house inspection within 7 to 14 days after assigning the contract, for example.

To secure final loan approval, a financing contingency may need to be met within 30 days. If you need more time to complete a contingency duty, your realtor will need to request that the seller approve a contract modification.

Withdrawing a non-contingent offer to purchase a home

Things may become more complicated now. If you cancel a contract without a contingency clause, you risk losing your earnest money. Because you put money down to ensure that you’ll stick to the deal, the seller is legally allowed to keep your money if you back out for any reason not specified in the contract.

You could not only lose your money, but the seller could also pursue legal action against you. It’s possible that you’ll be sued for “exceptional performance.”


Purchasing a home is a major financial commitment that should not be done lightly. Notify the vendor right away if you need to withdraw an accepted offer. Your real estate agent can help you write a letter to the seller stating why you want to back out.

As a result, you should collaborate closely with your agent. If that fails, you’ll need to speak with a real estate attorney about your choices and what to expect if mediation fails.

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About the Author: John Watson

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