Can a buyer walk away after the final walk-through?

Buying a house is a decision not to be taken lightly. It is vitally important to carry out checks and be diligent during your final walk-through to make sure that everything is up to speed and to your liking before you make a long-term legal and financial commitment.  The final walk-through is the perfect opportunity for the buyer to take a look around their chosen house and ensure that everything that is meant to be there is present and that the seller hasn’t left any surprises. It would be a great idea to take along a checklist and highlight everything that is necessary and needed for you as a buyer so that anything that you do not expect does not crop up at a later date when it may be too late. Normally, the walk-through goes off without a hitch, and both parties can move on to the final stage of the transaction and look towards closing the deal on the property.

Nevertheless, sometimes buyers do change their mind after final-walk throughs and occasionally end up walking away. This is permissible and there are multiple reasons for which this could happen. These include being dissatisfied with something that arose during the final inspection (which is the most common) or even the inability to provide sufficient financing for the official transaction. As long as there are clauses in the contract which allow for these eventualities the buyer is able to walk-away. Consequently, it is important to have such contingencies included when drawing up contracts just in case a scenario with a buyer like this were to occur.

Depending on what contingencies are included in the contract, the buyer will not always be able to walk away without having to face any legal or financial consequences. For example, some buyers may be protected and have a limited window of time to back out of a loan or credit agreement. However, if a buyer simply walks away from a purchase on a whim, they will be obliged to return their deposit to the seller and be held financially liable for any other fees. These limited consequences only apply if there are stipulations in the contract which allow the buyer to walk away after or at the final walk-through stage. If there is no such permission and the buyer still walks away they will have unfortunately broken a legally-binding contract. Essentially, this means that the seller can bring them to court and sue them for any losses that they have made as a direct consequence of the buyer’s actions. Therefore, putting certain ‘just in case’ conditions into the contract can be of extreme importance.

In summary, the buyer can walk away from the purchase of a property after a final walk-through for a variety of personal or financial reasons. However, the consequences that come from this act depend entirely on the conditions that both the seller and buyer’s conveyancing lawyers put into their respective contracts in regards to the potential of a buyer walking away.