Do I get back my earnest money deposit if I change my mind about purchasing the property?

Asked by Ingrid, Philadelphia, PA Sun Apr 6, 2008

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Mim Heisey, , Shippensburg, PA
Tue Apr 8, 2008
Thanks for a good question that all buyers should ask BEFORE they sign an offer. ( I trust that's your case.)
When you sign an offer to purchase realestate, you are signing a LEGAL BINDING AGREEMENT! Until the seller signs it and you (or your agent) have been notified that it IS SIGNED it is an 'OFFER', and you MAY be able to withdraw it without consequences. Once all parties have agreed on all points and have SIGNED the offer, it becomes a CONTRACT, and making unilateral changes to the terms WILL have CONSEQUENCES. One of those consequences may be loss of deposit/good faith money--that is why money is put down as a deposit. But there may be other things as well.
-Read and Make sure that you understand what you are obligating yourself to -BEFORE you sign!.
-ASK Your agent to carefully explain ANY details of the contract to you that are unclear, and if necessary, get legal advice. A good agent will not rush you in to something you don't understand, and will diligently try to explain it to you . IF you are not comfortable- DONT SIGN.
-WHEN YOU SIGN, you are saying that you take full responsibility for what is in the contract, and will stand by your signature--that is integrity.
Thanks again for a good question. Hope that helps!
2 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Spring City, PA
Mon Apr 7, 2008
It really all depends on how far along you are on the contract. For Prennsylvania Real Estate transactions, there are several options, or contingincies, that allow you to review the property before going to settlement. Depending on what contingencies you checked off, you may or may not be able to get your deposit back.
1 vote
Chris & Step…, Agent, Philadelphia, PA
Mon Apr 7, 2008
I would speak to your agent. The answer to your question would depends on the terms of the agreement. If all of your contingincies have been met, then you would be in default. However, if you have home inspectioon option 1, that is the best way for a buyer to back out of the deal. Or your mortgage getting denied. But again, it would all depend on how your contract was writtten. Good luck ! For more helpful hints visit our website below.
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Kim Benedict, Agent, Overland Park, KS
Fri Sep 6, 2013
It depends on how far along you are in the process... and what you have done. If you are waiting on inspections and they come back with issues you can easily back out of the offer. If you have signed any contracts it is a binding contract and not always easy to get out of, there could be lou poles as the inspection, yet it is best to have legal council to keep you safe in any real estate transaction and you really should seek that advise if you have signed any contracts.

Remember earnest money is an agreement that the seller take or hold the property till all agree where the property stands on condition issues, and if you back out that money is to cover any other potential buyer that the seller could have lost during this process...

Good luck!
0 votes
Fred Glick, Agent, Mountain View, CA
Mon Apr 7, 2008
I am sorry you want to back out, but without a real reason per the contract, you cannot. Buyers and Sellers have agreed in writing to do things. It is possible that if you do not fulfil the contract, the Seller could sue you for the balance of the sale price, not jus your deposit. It, again, depends on the contract. I suggest that you be honest with your agent and possibly get a real estate attorney to help. Good luck
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Jennifer King, Agent, Wyomissing, PA
Sun Apr 6, 2008
You do not get your earnest money deposit back - unless you cannot fulfill one of the contingencies written in your contract (typically a mortgage contingency - if you can't get the loan, and/or inspection contingencies - if the inspections reveal a major problem) - BUT this all depends on how your agent wrote the contract (what terms/conditions were there for any contingencies which were included?)

I hope that helps!
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