Q: Can a buyer cancel the contract without any penalties if the mortgage commitment was delivered after the date set forth in the contract? The mortgage commitment was late because the sellers’ agent was slow to set up the appointment for the appraiser to see the property.

A: In general, many contracts, but not all, provide a certain amount of time for a buyer to obtain a commitment for financing for the purchase of a home.

If the buyer is unable to obtain the commitment within that time period, the buyer must notify the seller in writing by the date set forth in the contract. If a buyer fails to notify the seller within that time, the buyer waives his right to terminate the contract. And if the buyer then fails to close on the property, the buyer risks losing the money he has put down as down payment for the home – or even more, depending on the seller’s damages.

If the sellers’ real estate agent intentionally failed to allow an appraiser into the home, you, as the buyer, may have the right to sue the sellers’ agent, or even the seller, for bad faith in abiding by the terms of the contract. However, if the sales agent failed to get the appraiser in on time and it was due to tardiness by the appraiser or scheduling problems, you should have requested an extension of the financing contingency.

If you obtained the financing commitment after the date set forth in the contract for the financing contingency and now want to terminate the contract because the commitment did not arrive in time, you probably will not be able to do that.

If you now have your financing commitment you will probably have to close. If the lender turned you down for financing, you should talk to a real estate attorney to determine whether the actions of the seller caused you harm.

This will probably center on why the appraisal was held up. If the seller’s broker did not act maliciously and did not try to interfere with your ability to obtain financing, you may be the one on the hook for the sellers’ damages.