Can a seller (or seller's attorney) keep our escrow even though the property was sold to someone else?!?

Asked by kristenbrooksrock, Moscow, PA Fri Aug 17, 2012

We tried to purchase a house back in March, and the deal fell through because the seller wouldn't sign off on our Reply to Inspections. The property was sold to someone else two weeks ago, and the seller still refuses to release our escrow deposit. Is this normal? And, is there anything we can do?

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Matt Novelli, Home Buyer, Terra Alta, WV
Sun Dec 9, 2012
If you elected inspections on the contract than he can not keep your hand money.
If you wrote contract through a realtor, call the broker of the company.
If you did not use a realtor and the contract was between you and him than you need to go to the magistrate
0 votes
Peter Lamand…, Other Pro, Scranton, PA
Mon Aug 20, 2012
The simple answer it depends.

Assuming you used the standard agreement of sale prepared by the Pennsylvania Assoc. of REALTORS. There is a "default" provision that may allow the seller to retain the escrow as "liquidated damages" if the Buyer defaulted regardless if there actual financial loss. I would recommend the following.

1) Get out your copy of the agreement.
2) If you had a Buyer's agent ask them if there was a notice from the seller that stated they were retaining the deposit and if so can you have copies of any of those documents. if not gather what ever paperwork you have.
3) Call an attorney to discuss you rights and options.

Hope that is helpful... My office is in your market... if you need a referral to a local attorney to assist you (assuming you don't have an agent representing you currently) then feel free to give me a call. if you have an agent I am sure they can provide a referral to you concerning this.
0 votes
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Fri Aug 17, 2012
It really sounds like we are not hearing the whole story:

Why didn't they "sign off" on your reply to inspections?
What was wrong with the Inspection?
Did you have an Inspection Contingency?
Did you exceed the time limit on that Contingency?

These questions are important, and if you sue or go to arbitration, they will ask these questions:
You can paint a picture for us, of you being the victim; but even if we agree with you, what good is that?
If you did not follow the instruction of the Contract; then you will lose the Deposit.

Good luck and may God bless
0 votes
Yes. We had an inspection contingency, which we didn't exceed time fact, once we got the inspection done (which had a ton of FHA issues). The seller "tentatively" agreed to fix everything on our list., but once we signed the reply to inspection paperwork...they wouldn't sign it. While that was going on, we actually needed to revise our original agreement of sale because of our mortgage situation. So, we signed new paperwork, which would extend our closing date and mortgage commitment date...sent it over to the seller, they had 3 days to sign off on it and just didn't sign it.
Flag Fri Aug 17, 2012
Andrew Himes, Agent, Collegeville, PA
Fri Aug 17, 2012
I would consult with an attorney. Since no one here is privy to the details of the agreement of sale that you would have signed for that house we can't possibly know what the contract states. Get a good Real Estate attorney that is familiar with the contracts in PA.
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