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If you make an offer on a house, do you have to buy?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2020 | Real estate transactions |

Buying a home is not like buying something from the store. You can make an offer, but the seller has no obligation to let you buy the property — even if the offer is for the asking price. They can look at all offers and decide which one they like.

That said, you may be tempted to make offers on multiple homes just in hopes that you get one of them. But is this wise? If you make an offer, are you then obligated to buy the house?

You may be. If the seller reads your offer and accepts it, now it’s a contract and it is legally binding. You laid out the terms, they approved of those terms and they stopped considering other offers when they accepted yours. You cannot back out of that deal or it would be a massive financial blow to the seller.

That said, if you have reservations, you can add contingencies to your offer. Maybe you’re not sure that the house will pass the inspection, for instance, or you’re not sure the lender will give you final approval for your mortgage. The contingencies can state that you only have to buy the house if those things work out in your favor. If not, the obligation is gone. You can walk away from the deal.

Of course, the more contingencies that you put in your offer, the less likely the seller is to take it. They know they could lose the sale. Still, this helps to show why you really need to know about all of your legal options when you are buying or selling a home.