In Ohio, is there an attorney review period where a buyer can withdraw an offer and get a deposit back?

Asked by Cynthia, New Jersey Sun Sep 7, 2008

My mother recently had an offer accepted on a house in Ohio and then suddenly got cold feet and wants to withdraw her offer. I am living in New Jersey where there is a minimum three day attorney review period where either the seller or buyer can change their minds penalty free. I'm having trouble finding information about Ohio real estate laws. At what point does the contract become finalized? All I know is that the seller has signed the offer/purhcase contract. Can my mother get back her $1,000 deposit before a certain point? When does she officially become under contract? Her real estate agent seems to be clueless.

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Dee Nofziger, Agent, Toledo, OH
Sun Sep 7, 2008
Hi Cybthia,

In the Toledo area, our standard board-approved and bar-reviewed contract states:
Paragraph 12. Attorney's Review. This agreement is subject to rescission in writing by Purchaser and Seller after review by their espective attorneys within 3 days after Acceptance (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays). FAILURE TO RESCIND WITHIN SUCH PERIOD SHALL CONSTITUTE A WAIVER OF THE RIGHT OF RESCISSION.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you need more.
Dee Nofziger
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John Wirsing, Agent, Pepper Pike, OH
Sun Sep 7, 2008
Hi Cynthia,
There is not any thing like a three day review period in Ohio. The standard offer sheet specifies under what terms & conditions all parties agree to a mutual release. As always, the terms of the contract dictate how the earnest money will be handled. Generally speaking, mutual release can come into play if your mother is unable to get financing or if the inspections show something that she would insist be repaired that the sellers will not accept. If that cannot be resolved, then all parties agree to mutual release.
Common sense would dictate that if your Mom changed her mind a day after signing, then the Seller's were not hurt and should agree to release the money so that they can get their home back on the market. But, if she has had them tied up for a period of time, valuable time that they were not ACTIVELY promote the sale of their home, then your mother DID harm them and they DO deserve compensation. If I can be of any help, you can call me at 440-487-2193.
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Elizabeth Bl…, Agent, Worthington, OH
Sun Sep 7, 2008
I dont know if Cleveland does but in the Columbus area, we use the standard Columbus Board of Realtor contract which has the Attorney Approval Clause. The buyer's agent indicates the number of days after contract acceptance , the buyer has to obtain attorney approval. If your mother's contract does not have this clause, I am not sure there is much you can do. The contract is finalized once both parties have signed and accepted. If her agent is clueless, talk to their Broker immediately.
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