Q: Several years ago, I signed a contract to buy a new construction condo unit. I have made all the required deposits, and we are six months from closing. I found out I have to relocate for my job. What can I do? - Don

A: Many things can happen between signing a contract for new construction in a development and closing time, often several years later. You can have a change of situation, lose your job, have to move or suffer a tragedy. Market prices can go up, making it the deal of a lifetime, or go down, like a decade ago.

It is all part of the deal and the reason that you need to carefully review your contract to purchase before signing it. Look for the conditions that will let you off the hook without losing your deposit and what gets the developer out of having to deliver.

Most developer contracts will not let you sell, or "assign," your agreement to another person if you want out, but some will under certain conditions. If your contract allows this, you may be able to assign your contract to a new buyer, having that new buyer reimburse your deposits and standing in for you in the purchase.

If your contract prohibits this, you should explain the situation with the developer, who may let you out of the contract due to your circumstances, especially if values have risen in the community. If all else fails, you may have to purchase the unit and sell it quickly, since this can often save some money versus losing your deposit.

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ABOUT THE WRITER

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

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