Legal Reasons to Refuse to Sell Your Home to a Particular Buyer

Fair Housing Act, Mortgage, Offer

When selling or renting your home, there are certain actions or behaviors that are illegal under federal and/or state law. This includes the refusal to sell or rent one’s home based on factors listed in the Fair Housing Act passed in 1968. Such factors include race, color, sex, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation and other characteristics.

However, there are many reasons that a homeowner or landlord can refuse an offer to sell or rent property to a prospective buyer or renter. These justifications are considered legal and are not contestable under the law (unless other factors apply). In general, the seller need not provide a truthful or logical reason for refusing an offer. What are some of the reasons that a seller may reject an offer by a prospective buyer?

Uncertainty Regarding Loan Approval

If the seller has valid concerns about the buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage, he could refuse to accept the buyer’s offer. Waiting to see whether the loan is approved can have detrimental consequences; the seller may forego other opportunities to sell his home in the interim.

Buyer Submits a Low Offer

Probably the simplest and most obvious reason to reject an offer is that it is too low. You may believe that the value of the house exceeds the offer or that the market commands a more competitive price. In either case, the seller is not required to accept an offer that he thinks is economically undesirable. Perhaps the seller’s home is subject to a bidding war. The seller is entitled to accept whichever offer is most attractive to him.

Seller Decides to Stay or Needs More Time to Move

Sometimes a seller has a change of heart and decides he no longer wants to sell. So long as no offer has been accepted, the seller can decide to remain in his house without any legal recourse. Of course, if the purchase contract has been signed, the seller cannot decide to keep his house without potentially incurring liability for breach of contract. In some cases, the seller needs more time to move and the buyer requires an immediate closing. In this case, the seller can also refuse to accept the offer.

The experienced team of attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C. can help you litigate your real estate claims. Contact Mark Weinstein and his colleagues at (770) 888-7707 or visit them at to find out how they can advise you.

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