There are no "Ernest Money agreements" per se. What most contracts state is that if within the inspection period you decide to cancel the contract you get the money back. After that it becomes a gray zone and any escrow refunds needs to be renegotiated. All is spell on the Far Bar contract, ask your agent for a blank copy to review.
La Rosa realty
If the funds are held by a title company - they usually require both parties to sign for any release. Ask your real estate agent for their title company contact and speak to them about their policies for earnest money release.
If you're making an offer on a Short Sale just be very careful before handing over any money.
You see in Tampa Bay most earnest money deposits are held at a title company and the title company cannot release your deposit unless the Seller and you sign a release.
I know of a case where the seller on a short sale refused to sign the release and attempted to coerce that buyer to give him half of the money although the buyer was fully within his right to cancel. That buyer then had to bring a lawsuit against the seller to get his money back.
It's better (and fairer) for a short sale not to require an earnest (good faith) deposit until/if the property is approved to sell by all lenders and lienholders at a price you are willing to pay.
If we're talking about new construction then the developer will write their own contract and earnest money deposit requirements.
If you're not already working with a Realtor, give me a call and I can offer to assist you.
All the best,
Alma Rose Kee, PA
Liane Jamason, REALTOR
Smith & Associates Real Estate