RE Agent wants to keep my deposit ! - Posted by Maria

Posted by jeff on September 14, 2003 at 07:23:48:

Your contract should have been contingent on a few items that allow you to cancel the deal anyway. If the agent or owner did not disclose any known information to you (flood zone would be known because of homeowners insur.) they are in violation.

RE Agent wants to keep my deposit ! - Posted by Maria

Posted by Maria on September 14, 2003 at 04:13:15:

I put a contract on a home. Four days later it was disclosed to me that the house was in a flood zone and required mandatory flood insurance. Immediately I contacted my broker and told her I wanted to cancel the contract. Since this fact about being in a flood zone was omitted, I expected my deposit back. I notified the other broker about cancelling the contract as soon as I was given this info. They want to keep my $2000.00 deposit. Do they have a leg to stand on? They had faxed me a sellers disclosure, mysteriously the part requiring flood insurance and being in a flood zone was missing. They finally faxed that to me on the 4th day . That’s when I cancelled. I acted in good faith. I felt that the other broker was deceitful by with holding this flood info. Can I get my deposit back? I told them I expexcted it to be returned and they said the house was off the market for 5 days and I shouldn’t get my money back. Oh I forgot to mention, before I put an offer on this house it has been for sale for 2 years! I don’t think my 5 days off the market is worth $2000.00. Especially since it had been on the market for 2YEARS prior to me coming along. Do they have the right to keep my money and how do I get it back?

Re: RE Agent wants to keep my deposit ! - Posted by Bruce Lawson

Posted by Bruce Lawson on September 15, 2003 at 13:27:32:

Hi Maria,

The unforunate thing is the only one who has the autority to return the earnest money is a judge. Once yuor deal gets accepted by the seller the earnest money check getd deposited into a broker or closing agent trust account(depending where you are)and neither the brokers or seller can release it.

I agree with you and I hope you get it back, but it all should be spelled out at the bottom of the contract and I am not sure if the need for flood insurance is considered a property defect.

Good luck with this.


Bruce Lawson

in addition to what’s been mentioned - Posted by rm

Posted by rm on September 15, 2003 at 11:16:36:

It’s probably a violation of state law to knowingly omit any known defects/facts about the property.

The current owner is likely required by their lender to pay for flood insurances, and it ain’t cheap, so it would be hard to believe that they didn’t know about it.

Furthermore, since they now are aware of the flood issue, they’re supposed to disclose this to any future prospective buyers.

Re: RE Agent wants to keep my deposit ! - Posted by JT-IN

Posted by JT-IN on September 14, 2003 at 15:23:39:


Assuming that you haven’t left out some crucial detail here, I would say that you are entitled to receive a refund of earnest monies in full. What I would do is to put in writing:

“Demand for Return of Earnest Money Depsoit”

List the details as briefly as possible, and state that if the deposit has not been returned within 72 hours of receipt of this letter, you will retain Legal Counsel and file a civil suit, with damages.

Send this letter certified, with a cc: to all parties involved; The Managing Broker of each Agent, and each Agent. Then if they do not repsond, then acquire an Atty to get matters straight for you. This shoudl be fairly straight forward, from what you say.

In most states, unless you waive your rights to the Earnest Money Deposit, which forfeits the deposit, they cannot actually keep the funds nad sell the house to another party. Hence, the whole time they are screwing around here over the deposit, the Sellers property is theoretically off the market until this is resolved.

You should be able to get a fairly quick solution on this one… stand tall on it.


Re: RE Agent wants to keep my deposit ! - Posted by Ron M

Posted by Ron M on September 14, 2003 at 14:03:36:

In Washington, they have 5 days to provide disclosure after the P&S has been signed. Buyer has 3 days to withdrawl offer after receipt of the entire disclosure statement. What state are you in?

Re: RE Agent wants to keep my deposit ! - Posted by Terry (Houston)

Posted by Terry (Houston) on September 14, 2003 at 09:51:57:

In Texas our contract says that if the Sellers Disclosure is not given at the time of the signing of the contract that AFTER you receive it you have 7 days to cancel the contract.

What does yours say? Site it to them in writing. Get strong after these yahoos.

Question. you say You contacted the other broker, why? Where is your broker that you put the offer through? What are they doing or saying? They need to help with this fight as well or I would report the m both.

Re: RE Agent wants to keep my deposit ! - Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA)

Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA) on September 14, 2003 at 06:31:09:


I agree with you entirely. Perhaps you did not come across like a very strong person and they think they can push you around.

Show that they are wrong. Put it in writing. Not just ralking. Tell them explicitly. "If I do not h ave my deposit refunded within 3 days, I will report both of you [the brokers] to the state [agency that licenses real estate licensees] and ask that your licenses be pulled.

Don’t mention it, but be prepared to have an attorney write them a very strong letter demanding the money if you do not get it after your deadline.

And do put in a complaint to the governmental agency that licenses these losers.

Good Investing***********Ron Starr*************

I think you are mistaken about this - Posted by Anne_ND

Posted by Anne_ND on September 16, 2003 at 07:26:37:

In my area the only person whose signature is needed to get the earnest money returned is the seller. A judge would be needed only if the seller refused to sign and the money is languishing in the broker’s party (um… escrow) account.