North Myrtle Beach, SC asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Utah

Q: Seller sold property I was under contract on, what are my options?

I was under contract (standard UT REPC) with seller for property. I went to close on the property (prior to require closing date) and find out the seller has sold the property to someone else. I paid $2K earnest money and also hired people to inspect and consult on the land. Now, like properties are going for twice the price I was under contract for and out of my price range. I still want land in the same area. What are my options?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Wesley Winsor
Wesley Winsor
  • Saint George, UT
  • Licensed in Utah

A: I am sorry to hear about your situation. That is rough. Sounds like the seller made a calculation about the risk of being sued and damages and thought that selling it to another at a higher price was worth it. Unfortunately situations such as this are not uncommon, thought typically it has to do with the buyer walking and not the seller.

If everything is as you state, this is a typical breach of contract case. You can sue the seller for breach of contract as well as incidental and consequential damages. A feature of contract law is that the remedy is typically money. When contract issues occur around real estate money usually doesn't usually make you whole because nearly all real estate is unique and even if you are paid out money, you won't ever have what you lost. If the sale has already gone through, then you will sue him for damages. These damages would include the expenses of home inspections, your earnest money if you haven't got that back yet, any expenses that you incurred that were consequential to your purchasing the house or incidental to it. Furthermore, you have a good case for claiming any increased amount you would have to pay in order to get a similar house.

That is the good news, the bad news is, is that you will have to litigate this thing and you probably won't get a "win" for another year and then collecting the judgement might take another year. And in the meantime you will need to pay an attorney at least $10k probably a bit more before you get there. I think that your REPC has a mediation clause in it that you could invoke and see if you could settle it somehow quickly and out of court. You might try that first.

I hope this helps.


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