Buying a Home: Cancelling an Offer to Purchase

Published: 

Thinkstock

After years of searching, you finally found your dream home. You make an offer to buy it. Can you change your mind?

 

An offer to purchase is a contract…

You’ve made an “offer to purchase” (also known as a “promise to purchase”) for a home, but now you’ve changed your mind. You’d like to know if you can cancel the offer.

Usually, you can’t.

An offer to purchase given to a seller is a contact:  you’ve made a commitment to buy the home and you must respect the contract.

 

…which can’t be withdrawn for a certain period.

An offer to purchase usually mentions a period of time during which the seller may accept or refuse. You can’t withdraw your offer during this period.  But you can withdraw your offer if you inform the seller before he or she has received the offer!

If your offer to purchase did not mention a time period, you can withdraw your offer, if the seller has not yet accepted it.

 

Cancelling an offer after an inspection

You can cancel an offer in some situations. For example, most offers to purchase have an “inspection clause”. This means a buyer can withdraw the offer after a pre-purchase inspection.

But be careful! This clause doesn’t let you withdraw your offer for any reason!  You can withdraw it if the inspection revealed a major problem that could have a big impact on the home’s value or lead to large expenses.

You can also agree with the seller to cancel the offer. But keep in mind that, if one or more real estate brokers have been involved, the cancellation might have an impact on their commissions. You, or the seller, might have to pay these commissions, since the brokers kept their part of the bargain!