What am I entitled to if the buyer wants to back out of our land sale contract?
Question Details: The buyer and I both signed the contract. I was required to get a survey and perk test done, which I did. He then asked for a 30 day extension which I agreed to. However, 5 days before closing he said that he wanted out, even after I had done every thing he asked at my expense. What is the law?
If there was no contingency in the contract allowing him out at this stage, he is obligated to the contract. He has no legal defense to his contractual obligation for his simply wanting out; he needs a contingency, or to be able to prove that you committed fraud or violated your obligations, to get out of the contract without a penalty.
In the typical contract, if there was a deposit or earnest money, you get to keep the deposit when the buyer refuses to go through with the sale. If there was no deposit, you can sue him for your costs and losses. That would be your survey and perk test costs, and the "carrying costs" for the additional time you have to now hold onto and pay for the land until you reasonably could be expected to sell it. (E.g. you took if off the market when you and he signed the contract; it's been off the market for 3 months; your monthly carrying costs--taxes and anything else you need to pay on the land--is $500/month; therefore, a 3 month loss of marketing the land cost you $1,500, which you could seek.)