"I Put a Contract on a New Home about a Month Ago, but Now I've Decided I Prefer Another Model in the Same Community from a Different Builder. Is There Any Way I Can Get out of the First Contract? Does It Make Any Difference That Both Bu

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 22, 1998 | Go to article overview

"I Put a Contract on a New Home about a Month Ago, but Now I've Decided I Prefer Another Model in the Same Community from a Different Builder. Is There Any Way I Can Get out of the First Contract? Does It Make Any Difference That Both Bu


Each week, Second Opinion asks two real-estate professionals one of your questions. Read what they have to say, right here.

PIN YOUR HOPES ON LOOPHOLES

NAME: Michael T. McFarlane

TITLE: Attorney, Shreves, Keegan & Schudel, P.C., Oakton

PHONE: 703/242-2100

Assuming that your contract was signed by both you and an authorized representative of the builder and that you have agreed to all material terms of the transaction, you must follow the terms of the contract.

If you decide to purchase a home from another builder, you risk losing your deposit and being held liable for damages to the first builder. Experience shows that the authorized representatives of builders are often slow to sign contracts, and it is wise to obtain a copy of the contract to determine whether it is fully ratified.

However, state laws provide purchasers with several mechanisms to cancel a contract even if the contract is fully ratified and otherwise enforceable.

For example, Virginia law requires a contract for the sale of a lot within a subdivision governed by a property owners' association to contain a specific notice regarding the purchaser's right to obtain a disclosure packet from the association. If this notice is not in the contract or if the disclosure packet has not yet been given to you, you may have the right to cancel the contract for any reason and receive a full refund of your deposit.

The fact that both of the builders are building in the same planned community makes little difference. Your contract is with the builder, and unless that builder releases you from the contract you may be liable for breach of contract.

Before you make a decision, it is in your best interest to consult with a lawyer experienced in these matters. An attorney will review the contract and may advise you of possible contingencies that may allow you out of the contract. Remember, a builder's contract is typically drafted by the builder's attorneys and rarely will provide the home buyer with any protections.

`OPTION' TO ESCAPE UNLIKELY

NAME: Robert G. Gottleib, Esq.

TITLE: Tax and Business Attorney, Tucker, Flyer & Lewis

PHONE: 202/452-8600

When a purchaser submits a contract, the rights of the purchaser are governed by the contract. …

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