Home Buying in Mission Viejo>Question Details

Carlton M., Home Buyer in Lake Arrowhead, CA

Escrow kept $700 for HOA/cert fees. Will I be able to get this back?

Asked by Carlton M., Lake Arrowhead, CA Sun Feb 24, 2013

Our agent kept saying we would get back the entire 5k earnest deposit. So we signed cancellation papers, and we misunderstood it, trusting what the agent said we signed the form that said 700 to hoa cert. but only paid attention to the part that said 5000 total deposit.

Our agent did not tell us or our lender that there was a 90day wait to close escrow for this flip property, and it also needed two appraisals. Our lender found out last minute right before everything was about to close. The second appraisal did not appraise, and owner would not budge, so we walked. We didn't want to add 15k out of pocket.

Why is it $700? And if escrow knew it was a 90 day wait why did they rush everything and not tell us..why do the HOA certs if the second appraisal wasn't done yet. Our agent never told us anything and lied and said we should rent the place while in escrow, which was odd but we didn't know why. Now we do.

Can we get our money back?

Help the community by answering this question:


Sorry to hear about this and that it was not explained. There are buyer expenses when a home is in escrow including HOA fees. Typically the escrow company has you sign a document that explains this about the HOA fees. If the home goes back into escrow, as stated below, you should be able to get back your fees. Check with the Escrow officer also.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2013
Getting a refund of the funds from Escrow when the next buyer comes along will ONLY work IF the Seller uses the SAME Escrow Company for the next transaction. There is NO Guarantee this will happen with a different buyer!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 25, 2013
the seller will, her agent and my agent are in the same co, and the owner owns both the agency and escrow co. but i do understand tehy aren't obligated to either..so basically it's a lost cause :/
Flag Mon Feb 25, 2013
Caveat emptor

You said....... "we just trusted her and kept signing"...... Do you not read what you are signing?

Escrow's job is to facilitate the transaction according to the instructions agreed upon between the Buyer and the Seller as provided in the Purchase Agreement and any Addenda that followed. Escrow is an independent 3rd party and cannot disburse funds to anyone or any entity without Seller / Buyer signatures.

I am positive at some point you signed a document that allowed Escrow to use / advance your funds for the HOA docs and the HOA Cert. prior to closing. Obviously the transfer of the property has not happened so you likely did not pay for the HOA Transfer Fee.

I strongly suggest you contact your Agent's Broker and ask to have a face-to-face meeting with him / her. It is in the Broker's best interest to ensure everyone leaves this transaction feeling "ok"and to ensure everything was done appropriately per the contract.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 25, 2013
Escrow likes to order HOA docs early in the transaction because HOAs take a long time to get them back to escrow. There are 2 HOA payments that are charged and you most likely payed for both, HOA transfer fee and HOA documents. Look at your purchase agreement then check with escrow to make sure what you were charged for.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 25, 2013
The agent didn't advise us of anything we just trusted her and kept signing, she really was negligent and doesn't care at all. Escrow won't even at least take the papers back since they can re charge the new buyers for it. All in all it was an expensive lesson, working with the wrong agent has cost us.
Flag Mon Feb 25, 2013
Hi Carlton,

The lender and agent should have known property was a flip within the 1 day of acceptance. Lenders have very specific guidelines regarding flips and should have communicated.

On the purchase contract who was paying HOA docs fee (buyer/seller)? If seller, you should be refunded. Either way I would call escrow and return the docs so they can be used on the next transaction.

Also, the market is flooded with flips. Most lenders will require 2 appraisals and will not order the 2nd appraisal until 1st is appraisal is done. This will delay escrow on the standard 30 escrow and sometimes 45 day.

Good luck

Steve Colvin
Premier Ca Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 25, 2013
Just wanted to say that Steve Colvin is VERY knowledgeable and he explain the process and contract to you as a seller or buyer very clear. I had a business experience/conversation with him, and I was VERY happy with his professionalism.
Flag Tue Mar 12, 2013
No my agent did not tell me or my lender it was a flip,, and my lender didn't find out till almost escrow closed, then did a second appraisal that failed. By then I'm stuck with HOA fees that were ordered done. :/ Who can I hold responsible for this money I'm out? :/
Flag Mon Feb 25, 2013
So sorry to hear of your lost transaction and misunderstanding.
Vicki makes a good point with regards to returning the documents to escrow.
Typically the HOA can only charge you for the actual cost of preparing and delivering any HOA documents to you. You may want to consult directly with the HOA management company to determine the true and actual cost of the documents, it may very well have been the amount quoted to you.

As to the timing of when the documents were ordered, the 90 day wait and the timing of the second appraisal, I really cannot speak to that, your contract as mentioned by Vicki would dictate the actions of the Escrow company.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2013
Contact the escrow and tell them that they must return the money when another buyer will enter escrow and they pay for the cert, then they must release your funds and take theirs.
Your agent should also explain that to you. That money will not be lost. They cannot do it. You have good cause to cancel and you are entitled to full refund.
You can also call the broker of your agent and complain and ask the broker to get involved.
If your agent is a broker then tell him that it is his fiduciary responsiblity to do everything to take your money back and if he does not treat your money like yours then you will have to call the real estate board.
You will get it back.
Do not sweat it.
Good Luck :)

Mina Katani
Allstar Brokers Network
Irvine CA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2013
Mina, this will work ONLY IF the Seller uses the same Escrow Company for the next transaction. There is NO Guarantee this will happen with a different buyer !
Flag Mon Feb 25, 2013
Thank You, I emailed them and will call them tomorrow. I'm losing sleep over this :/
Flag Mon Feb 25, 2013
Don't blame escrow for rushing everything. They just do what the contract requires, or the agent and lender ask for.

Your agent, or your lender should have told you about the 90-day flip restriction, along with the 2 appraisal requirement. The HOA management company is the one who required the $700 for the HOA fees. It might be possible to get a refund if the lender for the next buyer requires them, and you have returned them to escrow.

Good luck -
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2013
Agent never told lender. Our lender found out two days before escrow was about to close and he called us.
Flag Sun Feb 24, 2013
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2015 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer