Q: What is the best way to get our earnest money back?
We put $10K as an earnest money for a new construction in September. The house will be ready in February. One of the main reasons for buying the house is the elementary school. In November, it was announced that the elementary school for that house is changing to a different one.
Now, we want to back off from the deal and we want our earnest money back from the seller ( home builder). The agent is the same for both us and the seller(home builder). He has also mentioned that the school will not change in the future. He says that he provided the information that he had. How do we go about this and get our earnest money back? We also paid around $5000 for upgrades. We are ready to forgo that money as some of the work has been done in the house.
A: This is a difficult situation, and why we always urge buyers to have their own representation.
It may seem easier to just go directly through the builder, but when problems arise, buyers are on their own. You may need to consult a real estate attorney now to see what your options are.
Without knowing the specifics of your contingency protections, another agent wouldn’t be able to tell you whether or not you can get your earnest money back. There should be timelines in your contract that explain how much time you have to inspect the home, neighborhood, and other material issues in the transaction. Look for any contingencies which have not had their timelines run out yet, and some may give you relief in the way of an earnest money refund. Again, if the builder’s agent is not helping you to do this, an attorney is probably your best bet. There is always the chance that the earnest money is not refundable at this point.
– Sam DeBord, REALTOR®, Coldwell Banker Danforth
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