All the answers below are right in line. The only addition I have is that maybe the agency was charging a "retainer fee". However, I do not know how they would charge this without a signed agency agreement.
Again, hoping you paid by check. Worst case scenario you could try to stop payment. The first step should be to contact the Broker/Owner of the Century 21 office. If you do not get what you need there, you could try to contact the Headquarters of Century 21 or another office broker to see what they recommend. I believe Century 21 is a franchise, so there should be some ladder to go up.
I've talked with you before here sorry to hear about your problems.
Get your money don't go thru agent demand to talk with broker and document all conversations. Then move on. Never give a deposit until you have an agreement of sale together and then you have an earnest money deposit for that sale. Not before.
As a buyer agent your interest should be first and foremost.
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Keller Williams Atlantic Shore
I have NEVER heard of an agent/ agency asking for "deposit" money upfront before you even find a home !! Typically the $1000 is only given when you write an offer, and it it NOT deposited in an escrow account until the contract is agreed to by the seller.
Contact the broker/manager of the office IMMEDIATELY, and demand your money back.
You don't mention where in NJ you are looking (your profile only says Buyer in NJ), so it's hard to refer you to someone who can help you properly.
You can email me at PruMaryNJ@aol.com or call me to let me know where you are looking and I can try to refer you to someone who can work with you.
Look forward to hearing from you.
This does sound very unusual and I strongly suggest that you reach out to the Broker/Manager and request information as to why you paid $1000 before you found a home. I am hoping that you paid by check and the check was payable to the brokerage?
I'm not sure where you are looking to purchase a home, I service the Monmouth/Middlesex/Ocean counties area's. If you are not looking in these area's I can certainly refer you to an experienced Weichert agent in another county.
Good communication between yourself and your buying agent is important. Have you been pre-qualified for a loan? This is one of the first questions an agent should be asking of you among many others including your needs/wants/time frame for moving.
I can be reached directly at 732-492-6847 or via firstname.lastname@example.org. Good Luck.
Hopefully you'll get some responses from agents on here willing to help you. If not, I can try to refer you to someone.