Donations Click Here

Changing mind on purchase price of house

Question:

About 15 years ago, while we were still living in Australia, we negotiated with an elderly Jewish lady to buy her house which was on the market. A couple of days before Pesach we made a verbal offer to her and we said that it was only valid until Pesach. We did this in order to pressure her to agree quickly and not sell the house to someone else. She needed time to think about it and in the end we did not reach a deal before Pesach. After Pesach we made another offer, about $5,000 lower than our first offer. There was no better offer on the table so she accepted our lower offer. However she was quite upset that we didn’t offer the higher price that we had originally offered. The real estate agent also put pressure on us to offer the higher price. However we did not agree. We were adamant that the original offer was only valid until Pesach. In the end we agreed on the lower price and we bought the house. We have since sold the house and made Aliya. The seller passed away a number of years ago but we know her family. We are now concerned that maybe we were wrong in not agreeing to the higher price. Did we do anything wrong? Even according to dinei shamayim? We don’t want to have this on our conscious and we want to do whatever is necessary to make things right. We would be very grateful for your advice. Thank you so much.

Answer:

You are not halachically obligated to pay them anything, because you told her specifically that the offer will expire, and because the deal wasn’t closed yet, so you never obligated yourself. Therefore you don’t have any obligations to them. If they are still upset, you might want to make up with them, in any way that you see fit, but monetarily you are not obligated to.

Best wishes

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *