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Humble, TX asked in Real Estate Law for Idaho

Q: Can a seller back out of a signed purchase agreement because his ex wife won’t re-sign quit claim deed that had a error

A friend offered my family to live in his house because he is always on the road. We have now lived in said homes for 5 years and he offered on multiple occasions to sell us the home for 90k. We finally agreed, no that we are 3 weeks from closing he is saying that his ex wife will not re-sign the quit claim deed( the hat the title company is saying had an error on) because she wants him to sell it for more. He said he was awarded the home in his divorce and the original quick claim deed was to get her off the house. Public record search says the quick claim deed was filed and he has sole rights to the property. Can he use that to breach the contract? And would this be a matter that had to go to court, and how can this be remedied? Thank you.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin M Rogers
Kevin M Rogers
Answered
  • Boise, ID
  • Licensed in Idaho

A: Very interesting situation for sure. Here's what the law will say:

1. He had the right to sell you the property. Real property is "unique," that is, money won't remedy a breach. It's the only property on earth that you can actually force the sale of, as long as you have his signature on the purchase/sale agreement. You can force him to sell you the house. If he refuses, you should sue him to force the sale to you. Having said this however, you MAY be better off finding another home that doesn't have a cloud on the title.

2. If the original QCD has an "error," it's either the Title Co. fault or the seller's fault, possibly his ex's fault. But according to your research, the title seems to be in his name, solely. Well, then that would seem to be all I would need to force him to sell to you. What he needs to do is take his wife back to court for Contempt, for refusing to properly quit claim the property to him. You wouldn't be able to use this fact, if you go ahead and buy the property because you are not a "bona fide purchaser," that is, you are not innocent here. You would force him to sell to you, knowing that there may be a cloud on the title. However, if you buy the home and later want to sell it and can't because the ex wife's refusal to re-quit claim, then all of the sudden you may have a cause of action against the ex wife for clouding your title!

Good luck in this very interesting case!

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