If I switch financing during escrow, does the seller need to agree? (California)

Technically, yes. If you made an offer stating you would obtain a conventional loan, and then during escrow for whatever reason you must switch to an alternate financing such as an FHA loan, then the seller is not obligated to cooperate with buyer’s efforts to obtain the alternative financing. However, buyer’s failure to secure alternative financing does not excuse the buyer from the obligation to purchase the property.

Why is this so? Because the seller may have relied on the buyer’s representation of the type of financing specified in the contract which could have influenced the seller to accept the offer.

Tip: If you must switch financing, it is a good idea for the buyer and the seller to agree to the new term by signing an amendment to the contract stating the new type of financing that buyer is seeking to facilitate the sale.