I'm not a lawyer, so the following is not legal advice. For legal advice, consult a lawyer.
The facts are he gave you a $1,000 earnest money check, and both you and he signed a sales agreement. You can call it a note if you want, but if it identified the property, the price, the desire to purchase, then that's a contract. You two discussed additional terms--but, even if you two had agreed, oral agreements aren't enforceable. You had (from your description) a written contract.
He then stopped payment on the check. He broke the contract. On the face of it, it appears that a small claims court might find in your favor. As for anything above the $1,000, you'd have to show actual damages. Receipts for expenses that would have been directly related to sales contract would be evidence of damages. Cancelling another showing wouldn't be--you couldn't show that, had the showing occurred, you would have sold your home.
One tip: When you're selling FSBO, always use your own contracts. You have to remain in control. One problem here is that you let the buyer be in control. Never let that happen.
Another tip: Read rockinblu's blog about selling FSBO: http://www.trulia.com/blog/rockinblu/2008/08/thinking_about_
Hope that helps.
So don't take it personally.
You want to be a FSBO? Man up! and Move on!
Welcome to the the world of business!
No, you will not be able to collect a dime because you have no damages.
Just for fun, I'd suggest interviewing three Realtors. Ask them to analyze your situation then compare their proposals. If it turns out that you need to list it with a professional (which happens most of the time), then you are all set.
I am not going to harp on the fact that what you have experienced is one of the pitfalls of trying this on your own, without at least doing your due dillgence and being prepared or educated for this kind of situation.
I don;t know how you worded your initial agreement, but in more formal contracts, how, when, or IF a deposit will or won't be returned is spelled out.
Perhaps in the future, you should consult with an attorney asap to have formal contracts drawn up.
You might also want to ask the potential buyer ahead of time certain questions (have a list prepared) such as whether they have a house to sell.... or whether they are approved for a mortgage or what other terms they might be interested in attaching to the purchase. Most buyers at least want the right to have an inspection. If this buyer changed his mind on the "as is" idea.............It doesn't surprise me one bit.
You have at least learned a valuable lesson......there is more to "selling" your home than simply agreeing to a price. That's just the very tip of the iceberg.
Better luck next time!..................
If you can see a way out of that agreement, so can the "buyer," and he'll be sure to point that out to the judge, and you probably won't win.
Hope that helps,