1. File for mediation to get your deposit back or
2. File with small claims court. Currently maximum files on small claims is $7,500 so you would have to forgo $2,500
Getting everyone to sit down at a round table sounds good in theory but it sounds like things are heated at this point and that may not happen.
Have you asked for your money back and that the seller release it? Whenever you want something resolved the judge will ask you what you did thus far to get it back. You need to send a letter to the seller, the seller's agent, your agent, and the brokers involved. You need to state what you want, give them a dead line, and a consequence if they don't perform.
It absolutely never hurts to consult an attorney but check into filing mediation first, it's cheaper. Escrow is not allowed to release your deposit unless you have all signatures of parties involved or a judgement to do so. If you do talk to an attorney I would ask them about being able to still purchase the house if you want it. If the seller had an approved short and signed off on your offer excepting it, you have rights. If that didn't take place your agent never should have had you put $10,000 in escrow in the first place.
Involvement of the broker of record on each side of the transaction, as Robert & Brian pointed out, is critical. If you executed a Short Sale Addendum with your contract, review that carefully with your agent and broker for verbiage that protects the buyer in such a transaction. Then ask your agent about key decisions that you made during the escrow period: Were contingencies removed? Did we issue a notice to perform to the seller? Has the approval letter from the bank expired because of seller actions? Did all parties agree to mediation?
Short sales are extremely challenging transactions, often with a lot of emotion and angst on the part of sellers. Sometimes the stress of their financial situation can cause sellers to act unreasonably. If a broker meeting and mediation are not available options, you will need to enlist the help of a real estate attorney. Try a relatively inexpensive approach first, such as a simple letter from the attorney to the seller demanding the return of your deposit.
Wishing you the best of luck in recovering your deposit, and moving on to a new home for your family very soon.
Through your agents' Board of Realtors you can take this seller to a Mediation or Arbitration, the cost should be around $250-500 to do this process. Who cares what kind of lawyer the Son of the Seller is! Get this started now. Contact your agent & the broker of your agent.
Realtor Since 1996
Also I am not very sure why your agent asked you to put $10,000 in escrow in the first place.
Realtor, DRE# 01891274
Century 21 All Moves
FREE Monthly Newsletter: http://newsletter.davidnewhome.com
Did you sign a cancellation of your purchase contract and a release of your escrow funds? Did your contract clearly spell out ways you could lose your deposit if you didn't complete the purchase? Did your Realtor discuss the possibility of you losing your deposit if you didn't move forward?
I would request a meeting with all Realtors involved in your transaction. Maybe it would be worth it to meet at the escrow company so your escrow officer can attend the meeting. Ask for their help in recovering your deposit. If your meeting doesn't go well, explain you are going to seek a lawyer and everyone will be held responsible.
If no resolution with the Realtors or escrow, hire a Real Estate Lawyer. Many lawyers will do a free consultation. If you meet with an attorney, go very prepared with copies of everything you signed and agreed to. It may only take a consultation and a few letters sent to everyone involved for you to get your deposit back.
Keep in mind the maximum lawsuit in small claims is $7,500 so that wouldn't work for you.
Good Luck! If I can be of further assistance, call me at (661) 255-3335 or email me.
Cheryl Garner, Mortgage Expert
Fairview Mortgage Capital, Inc.
Try to get all parties together including the lizti g and selling brokers and see if you can come to a resolution. Don't be intimidated by the fact that somebody may or may not be a lawyer you're still within your rights. Most Situations like this can be the resolved with a meeting of the minds.
I am so sorry you are having to go through this!! Especially on your first real estate purchase.
I agree with what Laura Coffey said. If you and the seller signed page 7 of the contract item 26 then you and the seller agreed to mediation if any disputes come up.
Ask your agent to help you. File for mediation, and go to small claims court as well. You will need proof so put any requests or correspondence in writing. Or save any emails you have sent to anyone involved in the transaction.
I wish you the best of luck! Again I am so sorry you are going through this.
Please let us know how it all turns out.
I hope this helped!