DB, Home Buyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL

As realtors, have you observed a time when a buyer couldn't cancel and recover deposit based on inspection?

Asked by DB, Fort Lauderdale, FL Thu Aug 28, 2014

I'm asking as it relates to the newest version of the FR/BAR contract. In other words, if a buyer is in accordance with all terms for cancelling due to inspection (cancels within the days specified, provides written notice, etc), is there any conceivable way a seller can still claim a buyer's deposit??

I know we're not LAWYERS here! But just wanting to know if you've dealt with this as realtors. Thanks!

Help the community by answering this question:


If the buyer was within the terms of the agreement and informed the seller properly, they are due their deposit back. If the contract was contingent on financing, you may want to forward the inspection report to the lender they were working with and see if it would impact the approval. If it would prevent the closing “As-Is” (ie., roof, electrical, HVAC, safety etc), the lender can issue a denial and provide to the seller.

Hope that helps. We are a lender and assist with this all the time. We rarely have any issues with getting the deposit back....

If you have additional questions, I can be reached at 727-410-9663.

Best of luck,

Andy Wood
Titan Home Lending
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 29, 2014
I haven't dealt with it and I'm not licensed in Florida. But the answer, of course, is "yes." Money in escrow requires both parties to agree to release it. Even if the seller is "in the wrong," if the seller refuses to sign, the money won't be released.

The buyer's option is to take the matter to court. But short of that--and a favorable ruling for the buyer--the money can be tied up forever. On the other hand, the money remains in escrow, so the seller doesn't get to pocket it, either.

If the seller is really angry--and it sounds as if he/she may be--you'll have a very, very difficult time getting your money back.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 27, 2014
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
Yes, you can lose your deposit money.
However, the State of Florida provides inordinate protection to the BUYER, making it difficult for a seller to receive those funds even if they suffer material loss through the actions of the buyer.

In the state of FLORIDA, when using the FAR/BAR contract, the buyer can withdraw from the purchase for reasons of their 'sole desecration' as provided in the inspection period. You miss the inspection time window then ending the contract is simply slightly more difficult.

Of course you know your REALTOR is the one to turn this question towards and HE/SHE can identify the coming exit points for you.

For a buyer to lose their deposit requires something that is truly egregious.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 27, 2014
Any seller can be unreasonable and choose not to sign the agreement to cancel and release...doesn't mean it will hold up, but they can try. I haven't come across anyone that has run into this issue but I have seen the new Freddie Mac Addendum where they send you the inspection report they have on file at the time of bilateral agreement and it states something to the effect that the inspection period only applies to anything NEW discovered in the buyer's inspection period...so that is a little tricky because at that point they have already provided the inspection report and disclosures...it seems a little gray to me but then again...that's why I'm a Realtor and not an attorney...not sure what it would amount to and thankfully haven't run into a problem thus far, but it is always good to have a few good RE attorneys available to you and your clients should anything like this come up.
And of course...
Disclaimer: This is not legal advise and nothing in my statement should be deemed as legal advise. Only a FL BAR licensed attorney can give legal advise in the state of FL, should you need legal advise, please contact a FL BAR attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 27, 2014
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