At what point can we not get our earnest money back?

Asked by Mch, 75077 Thu Nov 17, 2011

My husband and I have been dealing with completely incompetent people while trying to purchase a home. We have already had to file one extension because they missed our first closing date. Now they are telling us we need to be bring more money at closing that what was stated on our good faith estimate. I am emotionally done with this process and want to walk away. Are we out our earnest money and do we have any rights at all in this issue or do we just have to continue to not have any control of the situation?

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Don Groff, Agent, Austin, TX
Fri Nov 18, 2011
The answer is in your contract. There is a financing addendum that states a number of days to receive a full lender approval. If you have filed extensions you are probably past that date already. If you truly want the house I would talk with your agent and possibly get another lender involved in the process. While lending today is a tricky process and extensions are a lot more common it sounds like you need to get a second opinion with your financing.

Don Groff
REALTOR® | Mortgage Broker
Keller Williams Realty | 360 Lending Group
o.512.669.5599 m.512.633.4157
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Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Fri Nov 18, 2011
Control IS GOVERNED by the executed sale agreement.

GFE - Good Faith Estimate subject to change AFTER all documents are presented.

Your buyers agent and mortgage broker should hav explained to you best have MORE than enough for downpayments and etc. than not have enough. When you run into problems

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
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Stephanie Le…, Agent, Miami Lakes, FL
Thu Nov 17, 2011
Hi Mch,

It is not uncommon having to file an extension these days.

You should ask your Realtor or seek a Real Estate attorney to go over your contract to see what your options are and to find the underlying cause of the cause for delay...

Is the delay from the buyer or the seller side of the transaction?

You mentioned about the GFE was lower than actual closing cost... Let' me explain this part to you... The GFE is exactly what the name says an ESTIMATE of closing cost.. Now, the figures that are related to your lender, quoted on the GFE are not to change.. The difference between your estimate and the actual figures could be due to: insurance is higher than quoted, taxes, proration, settlement fees from title agent, etc.

If you are concerned that the difference is much higher... Then you can compare the two (GFE and HUD-1) line by line and see exactly what the

The hiring of a Real Estate attorney is a small fee to pay.. But one well worth it. Especially when you feel as you do...
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Akil Walker, Agent, Upper Marlboro, MD
Thu Nov 17, 2011
Hello Mch,

I would talk to your agent and express your frustration with the buying process, review and discuss the possibility of returning your good faith deposit.

Good luck
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Bruce Lynn, Agent, Coppell, TX
Thu Nov 17, 2011

I would talk to your realtor about the next steps to take.
It depends on your contract.
Hang in there....sounds like you are almost there.
It is pretty frustrating that it is out of your control and out of the control of many individuals involved in the process. Believe me everyone wants it to close... no one gets paid until it closes. If you walk away now there could be charges other than your earnest money. You might be in for appraisal, survey, credit report, option fees, earnest money, and your home inspection fee among others.
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Gary Geer, Agent, Antioch, IL
Thu Nov 17, 2011
Before you do anything consult your real estate attorney for advice. If all of your continences have been exhausted you need the attorney to help you put pressure on the parties or at least get the right answers to your questions. No Attorney? If you are using an agent, ask them for help also. Then if not satisfied, get an attorney involved. It's not uncommon for issues to come up just prior to closing on a property. It sounds like you need someone to the bull by the horns and make things happen. A good attorney can assist you with that.
I wish you all the best and hope all works out for you.

All the best,
Gary Geer
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Ashley Mitch…, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Thu Nov 17, 2011
The first question is have you released all your contingencies? If not, your earnest money deposit (EMD) is not at risk given the seller has not performed. If you have released contingencies, then you and the seller will have to come to a signed agreement on what is to be done with the EMD. If you cannot come to an agreement then I would ask if you agreed to the liquidated damages and arbitration clauses of your contract. These clauses will affect the procedure for coming to an agreement. The money will stay in escrow until an agreement is signed. When in doubt in a real estate transaction always ask, what doe the contract say? The contract is the transaction and will have many of the answers you seek.
More importantly, I would advise you to really think about walking away. Although you did not say in your question, this sounds like a short sale. You and everyone involved have probably come a long way. Did you love this home at one time? Can you still imagine yourself in the home? Starting over right now, there is no guarantee that this will not happen again. Short sales are ever morphing beasts that take toughness on the part of everyone involved to get closed. Think hard about it.
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