In My Neighborhood in 19139>Question Details

Chumped, Home Buyer in 19139

What can I do to get my $2,000.00 earnest money deposit back and how can I report the dishonest Realtor?

Asked by Chumped, 19139 Tue Jun 15, 2010

I was in contract for a month before my Realtor found out that the owner of the house I was buying had a large lien and could not get the title cleared. So by no fault of my own the contract was rescinded. I have yet to receive my earnest money deposit and it has been over 1 month. The Realtor has stated on numerous occasions that my check is "in the mail". What can I do to get my $2,000.00 deposit back and how can I report him?

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Did you sign a "release from the agreement of sale and distribution of deposit money" or something similar? Did the sellers sign it as well?

Unfortunately, until all parties agree how the deposit is to be dispersed, whomever is holding the escrow is not allowed to release it. This is regardless of who is entitled to it--which from what it seems, you are. If the seller refuses to allow the deposit to be released, you may have to file a lawsuit.

If you and the seller have signed a release stating that you are entitle to receive the deposit back, you should have gotten it by now.

Who is holding the escrow? This should be noted somewhere in the paperwork you drew up with the offer. Usually it's on the "buyers estimate of closing costs", however it can be on a separate form--probably titled "Deposit money notice". Most likely, the listing (selling) broker is holding the deposit. It is possible that the listing agent told your agent it was in the mail and is giving them the runaround. That said, your agent should probably be more aggressive in getting it back to you.

Call the office of whoever is holding the deposit (your agent or the seller's agent) and ask to speak to the broker. Tell them what's going on and demand your deposit be overnighted to you.

If all else fails, contact your local board of Realtors. It looks like you are in Philly, so here is their contact info:

Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors

Let us know how you make out.
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 16, 2010
Thank you everyone for your answers. They really helped a lot. First thing I did was go to my realtor's office and demand the money (as some of you suggested). There I was told their agent had mailed the money and that there was nothing much they could do because the money was distributed by the seller's agent's company (as someone else may have mentioned). I was told to go to that office, which I did, and asked them to put a stop on the check as I hadn't received it (it was sent to my agent on May 7th). The seller's agency was very helpful as they put a stop on the check and asked corporate to issue me another the same day (which they did). All in all, after a ton of running around, I did finally get my money and it seemed that the fault was all on the guy I had chosen to represent me. :o(. I will definitely be reporting him for his lack of professionalism and not recommending any one I know to use them EVER!!!

Once again, thanks so much for the answers!

A Happily Refunded Chump
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 19, 2010
I would say that going down to the Broker's office and demanding your money back would probably be the best. It is one thing to have a phone conversation, but when someone shows up claiming to be there to pick up their money, it is another story. I can't imagine a broker wanting this kind of trouble. This is a major violation for them. If he is insisting he sent the check ask for proof that it was cleared, or you expect a new check to be written and they can deal with the lost check scenerio.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 15, 2010
Hi Chumped, I would ask them to stop payment on the check, and then issue a new one, that you will come and pick up in person at the office. At this time you could also ask for verification that the money was in fact deposited in the escrow account and can you see the deposit receipt? If you get some excuse why this cannot happen, I would ask them for the phone number to their Realtor board so that you can make a formal complaint. And then I would find a new Realtor who does not work for his father and plays the check is in the mail game.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 15, 2010
You probably made your deposit money check payable to the listing broker's office. Your agent's office needs to first get the check from the listing office and then get it to you. This will only happen after a release has been signed by the terminating party. Sometimes this takes longer than desired. It is your Realtor's job to be on top of this. I agree that you should address this question directly to the Broker of the office you've been dealing with. Also, check your Buyer/Broker agreement for the terms you've agreed to regarding what happens in the event of termination in this circumstance. Best of luck.

Hannah Angert
William Festa Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 15, 2010
This is so easy, call the managing broker of the office, and tell them when you will be in to pick up your check. If that check was not correctly deposited, someone will be in big trouble. Your money should be fine. I would just go above the Realtor at this time. The managing broker will help you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 15, 2010
I would keep beating up on them and calling everyday after your mail comes. If he is a REALTOR you can and should file a complaint with the board. Keep at them, you should get the interest on the money for all this time as well. Or have them pay you in installments. Next time you go to the office don't leave with out something in writing as to why you haven't been refunded. Document everything. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 16, 2010
Hi Ms. Angert, thank you as well for your answer. I signed the release on Apr. 22nd, he stated that he had "sent" me an electronic copy of the signed release on May 17th. I told him I hadn't received it and he didn't make a effort to resend it. Since then he has been stating that he's mailed the check. First on May 28th...when I didn't receive it by June 4th, I called him and didn't get an answer...that is when I called the broker (his father) and was told that he was on vacation. On June 8th, I was told that he felt like a "Dodo because the check was still in my file, but he definitely for sure sent it this time". That was a week ago. :o(. Now I am angry, fed-up and tired of the lies. I really just want to be rid of the whole deal. I will definitely take another look at my Buyer/Broker agreement. But, I am absolutely sure that it doesn't say he gets to keep my money!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 15, 2010
Thanks Hannah, that was a great answer for Chumped. Those are great words of advice their for you sir, also remember if after obtaining a time table as when this can all get resolved and they still don't return the check, a small claims case may be in order.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 15, 2010
Hi Mr. Cartalucca, thanks for answering so quickly! The problem is I have...his father is the broker...and he has insisted that his son sent the check. Now what do I do?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 15, 2010
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