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What can you do if you have buyer's remorse over a house bid?

"Buyer's remorse" is something that almost everyone recognizes. At some point in your life, you've probably purchased something that wasn't in your budget and paid more for it than you intended.

It's one thing, however, when your buyer's remorse is over a pair of designer shoes or a high-tech toy and quite another when the object of your distress is the house you just put a bid on.

If you find yourself seriously wishing that the owners of the house you've bid on would reject your offer, is there anything you can do?

-- Wait to see if the buyer rejects your offer or sends a counteroffer. If that happens, you're off the hook and can walk away without a problem.

-- Look at your contingencies. Hopefully, the agent or attorney who drafted your offer included several contingencies that will allow you to walk away under certain circumstances. For example, a common contingency is that the house has to pass a home inspection to your satisfaction. This might be your best escape clause -- if something like a leak in the basement or a furnace that's past its expiration date shows up in the home inspection, you may be able to walk away from the deal.

-- Terminate the offer. If you can't get out of the deal any other way, you can generally still walk away right up until all the paperwork is signed. You will almost certainly lose any earnest money you put down to secure your offer but that's better than being stuck with a house you don't want. If you've caused the seller to lose other offers because you waited until the last moment to walk away, however, the seller may choose to take you to court and ask the court to force you to go through with the sale -- so acting quickly is important.

A real estate attorney can help you learn more if you know that your buyer's remorse isn't just a case of nerves over such a big purchase. Keep in mind that timing is important -- the longer you wait, the more difficulty you're causing the seller. Your attorney may be able to negotiate a way out of the deal without going through litigation if you are upfront with the seller with your dilemma and act in a timely manner.

Source: Discover, "Facts about Walking Away from a Home Purchase Contract," accessed May 11, 2017

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