A Deal is a Deal – If No Contingencies Provide a Way Out – Then What?

A Deal is a Deal: What to do if a Real Estate Contract Goes Bad.

Most of the time the sale of a Home goes smoothly; but what if it doesn’t? When a Buyer makes an offer and the Seller accepts, absent some unmet condition, the parties have a binding contract. It can sometimes get lost in the excitement of a home purchase that the reality is you are contracting for a major six-figure purchase/sale.  What if a Buyer or Seller wants out of a binding contract?

Part III: If No Contingencies Provide a Way Out – Then What?

If you are the Party Wanting to Close on the Home

What can an aggrieved party do if a party has breached a sale/purchase agreement of real estate? In addition to suing for breach of contract – and awarding you damages, in Michigan, courts have the equitable power to compel a party to through with the sale/purchase of real estate. This relief is known as “specific performance.” This means that a court would force the sale of the land.   Courts can grant this equitable remedy because Michigan law recognizes the fact that land is unique.  No piece of real estate is the same.  When you enter an agreement for the sale of “House X on Maple Street”, that is the house you want, and, presumably, a substitute won’t do because of the uniqueness of land.

So, in application, if you are the Buyer and the Seller has agreed to sell his home to you, absent some conditions in the contract that would hold otherwise, traditionally, you have the legal right to seek a court to compel the sale. The same rights belong to the Seller as well.

Seeking specific performance of a real estate sales contract is no small undertaking; there are disadvantages of going to court to compel such sale, including the expenses of hiring an attorney to file a lawsuit, and the time engaged in litigation. Such lawsuits should not be filed without careful consideration of the cost/benefit of proceeding in such a manner.


In this series, we will be looking into the following:


By Real Estate Attorney Jeshua T. Lauka.

Jeshua is an attorney at David & Wierenga, P.C., a business law firm located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jeshua practices in business, real estate, estate and trust work and related litigation. Jeshua has developed a focus on representing corporate and individual clients in distressed/foreclosure-related real estate matters, whether it is a corporate or construction industry client renegotiating a loan, or homeowners faced with being forced out of their homes.