Earnest Money - Posted by Jones-GA

Posted by Ed Copp (OH) on February 16, 2001 at 14:10:37:

required by law at all.

Non-refundable means non-refundable (yes they keep the money).

Excepted and accepted do not mean the same thing. Excepted means excluded from, or not part of; what did you mean?

Earnest Money - Posted by Jones-GA

Posted by Jones-GA on February 16, 2001 at 13:45:35:

I’m a little confused. I read on this board that earnest money can be handled a few different ways (i.e promissary note for payment at closing,deposit earnest money with your lawyer in an escrow account,etc.). I’m confused because I then read ads for houses that require a non refundable earnest money deposit. Is this deposit truly non refundable? Suppose your offer isn’t excepted. Do they keep the money? Suppose all of your contigencies aren’t met. Do they keep your money? Any explanation on this matter would be grartly appreciated.

Re: Earnest Money - Posted by JoeS

Posted by JoeS on February 17, 2001 at 05:56:59:

Contract law varies from state to state, so check your local laws. In my state, $1.00 is required to make a contract for R.E. valid. Local customs by realtors assume you the buyer will plonk down $1,000 as earnest money, non-refundable if you do not meet all that is said in the contract. I ALWAYS use my own contract to buy, and my own contract to sell. I had my attorney review these for legality. Remember, a contract is a written meeting of the minds of a buyer and seller. There are no “usual” clauses in a contract, only what the parties involved agree on. I have even had go-arounds with attornies on the subject of who holds the earnest money. So, the more versed in contract law you are, the better.

Re: Earnest Money - Posted by TD

Posted by TD on February 16, 2001 at 22:48:11:

A contract is a meeting of the minds. With RE it’s generally been held that such a meeting of the minds MUST be in writing to be enforceable. Whatever you agree to on your contract is what will be enforced - if one of the terms says that your deposit is “non-refundable” then it is.

In other words, change the form - or use a form or addendum thereto that is more to your liking. The main reason someone would stipulate that your deposit is “non-refundable” is simply to bind you to the deal.

There is nothing in common law that stipulates that the deposit MUST be non-refundable to be valid.