Real Estate Closings

What’s a Hubbard clause and how does it affect residential real estate sales?

How Hubbard clause can be a useful tool to bridge the gap between selling a home and purchasing a new one

Perso Signing Document Paper

Published on

October 1, 2023


In this article:

In the world of residential real estate transactions, you may come across a term known as the "Hubbard clause." While it might sound like legal jargon, it's an essential concept to grasp, as it can significantly influence the outcome of a home sale. In this article, we'll explore what a Hubbard clause is and how it can affect residential real estate transactions.

What Is a Hubbard clause?

A Hubbard clause, named after a 1987 New York court case (Hubbard v. 44 Warrendale Bayne Corp.), is a provision sometimes included in a real estate contract. Its primary purpose is to address a specific scenario: when a buyer wants to purchase a new home but is dependent on selling their current home first. Hubbards allow buyers to make an offer on a new property while still attempting to sell their existing one.

How does a Hubbard clause work?

Here's a breakdown of how a Hubbard clause typically functions:

  • The Buyer's Offer: A prospective homebuyer who needs to sell their current property first submits an offer on a new home. However, this offer is usually contingent upon the successful sale of their existing home within a specified timeframe.
  • Timeframe: The Hubbard clause will specify a timeframe during which the buyer must secure a buyer for their current property. This period can range from weeks to months, depending on negotiations.
  • Notification: Once the buyer receives an offer for their current home, they must notify the seller of the new property. The buyer can then remove the Hubbard clause contingency.
  • Seller's Decision: The seller can choose to accept the new offer or give the initial buyer a specified amount of time (usually 72 hours) to remove the contingency by securing a buyer for their current home.
  • Potential Outcomes: If the initial buyer secures a buyer for their current property within the specified time, the sale of the new home proceeds as planned. If the initial buyer fails to secure a buyer for their current property within the timeframe, the seller can proceed with the new offer.

Why do people use Hubbard clauses?

Generally speaking, a Hubbard clause is more advantageous for the buyer, as it gives them flexibility and security knowing that they will not have to move forward with the contract until they sell their current home.

Some sellers are willing to agree to a Hubbard clause either because they like the buyer’s offer and want to keep the deal, or they may see it as a sign that the buyer is committed to getting a deal done by the negotiated date. Sellers are also still able to market their property while the buyer sells their current property, possibly finding a better offer. Though, some prospective buyers may rule out houses they know already have Hubbard clauses.


Whether you're a buyer considering a Hubbard clause or a seller receiving such an offer, working with an experienced real estate attorney can help you navigate this complex aspect of real estate transactions and make informed decisions.

If you need an attorney for a residential real estate closing in the lower Fairfield County area of Connecticut, reach out to Pederson Real Estate Law for a free consultation. Attorney  Charlene Pederson has been guiding clients through real estate closing for more than 25 years.

About the author

Pederson Real Estate Law

Pederson Real Estate Law is a boutique law firm based in Greenwich, Connecticut. We provide experienced, efficient legal services for clients in residential real estate closings —purchases, sales, and refinances.