Can a buyer change his mind after he puts in an offer? It is a great question. The short answer is ‘yes’, usually, but be careful. Most offers are conditional upon mortgage financing and home inspection. Here is a standard home inspection clause often used for condo units.
This Offer is conditional upon the inspection of the unit and common elements by a home inspector at the Buyer’s own expense and the obtaining of a report satisfactory to the Buyer in the Buyer’s sole and absolute discretion. Unless the Buyer gives notice in writing delivered to the Seller personally or in accordance with any other provisions for the delivery of notice in this Agreement of Purchase and Sale or any Schedule thereto not later than 8:00 p.m. five days after acceptance that this condition is fulfilled, this Offer shall be null and void and the deposit shall be returned to the Buyer in full without deduction. The Seller agrees to co-operate in providing access to the unit for the purpose of this inspection. This condition is included for the benefit of the Buyer and may be waived at the Buyer’s sole option by notice in writing to the Seller as aforesaid within the time period stated herein.
The first sentence ends with ‘satisfactory to the Buyer in the Buyer’s sole and absolute discretion’. The buyer does not have to give any reason for essentially changing his mind. He does not have to justify his dissatisfaction with the inspection, nor does he have to give a copy of the inspection report to the seller. In fact, he has to do nothing.
The second sentence states that the buyer has to give notice in writing that this condition is fulfilled by a specified time. If not, the offer becomes null and void. That is what I mean by doing nothing. If you want out of the deal, don’t fulfill or waive off the conditions.
The conditions are included for the benefit of the buyer. The conditions are ‘good faith’ clauses. Sometimes we forget that sellers want to sell and buyers want to buy. The conditions are usually used as they are intended – to give the buyer time to secure a mortgage and ensure that the house he wants to buy is a good house. The conditions are not suppose to be used by the buyer to allow him to just change his mind.