Is There a Grace Period for Real Estate Purchase Contracts?

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Nearly every adult and child of age to make a purchase in North Dakota or Minnesota has experienced “buyer’s remorse,” that feeling one gets when one makes a purchase that is not as great of a bargain as the buyer initially thought. Perhaps it was a “splurge” purchase that, upon reflection, was not a good use of the person’s money. Perhaps the buyer did make an informed purchase, but the item – whether a computer, a car, or some other item – would not adequately meet the needs of the purchaser. As a result, some merchants or sellers of goods give buyers a “grace period” or “buyback period” during which the buyer can return the goods or property and cancel the sales contract (and receive the funds the buyer paid for the property back).

No “Grace Period” in Many Sales Contracts

 In many cases, however, there are no such “grace periods” in real estate contracts wherein the buyer can rescind the sale and cancel the contract once the contract has been consummated. What this means for the buyer of real estate is simple: You must do your “due diligence” and ensure that the property you are intending to purchase meets your needs and intentions before the contract is finalized and executed, or include in the contract a “grace period” or other contingencies that allow the buyer to complete their due diligence review and inspections. Without building these contingencies into the contract, if you decide that the property is not suitable for your needs one week (or even one day) after the contract is finalized:

  • You will not be able to undo the sale, in all likelihood, which in turn means you will need to decide whether to go through with the sale and then sell the property or modify it so that it can be useful to you; or
  • You will default on the contract and pay a penalty in the event the seller agrees to undo the sale or damages in a lawsuit if the seller does not agree. The penalty or damages will be used to offset the expenses and losses the seller might have experienced as a result of the cancellation of the sale.

Can There Ever Be a “Grace Period” in a Real Estate Contract?

 Because of the freedom recognized by the courts for private individuals to enter into contracts of their own making, individuals are generally permitted to include a “grace period”  or contingencies into their sales contracts provided they both agree to do so. As a practical matter, though, some sellers refuse to include such language because of the expenses and losses associated with the cancellation of a real estate contract after it has been executed.

Of course, the better option is to thoroughly investigate the property and review the sales contract prior to signing. Attorney Dean Rindy of the North Dakota and Minnesota real estate law firm O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys is committed to helping both buyers and sellers navigate the sales process efficiently and with as few disruptions as possible. Speak with attorney Dean Rindy today about your real estate acquisition or sales plans and allow O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys to help you achieve your goals. Contact our firm online, or call 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002 today for assistance.