Getting back your earnest money If you’re the buyer in a real estate transaction and want to back out of the deal, it’s important to know how to get your earnest money back. Depending on the terms of your contract, that money could be held in escrow by a title company, broker, bank or attorney.
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Earnest money is used to show that the buyer is serious about the home and is going into the contract in good faith. The money is held in an escrow account until closing by a third party such as a title company. If you back out of the deal and do so for a reason that was not explicitly included in the contract, you could be out your earnest money.
If a buyer decides, before closing but AFTER the end of the due diligence period, that they no longer want to move forward with the purchase of the home, they can walk away but will lose both their earnest money and due diligence money.
From a home buyer’s perspective, a contingency is something that allows you to back out of the contract under certain conditions and expect a full refund of the earnest money deposit. Contingencies can relate to home inspections, mortgage financing, and more.
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If all the contingencies are met within the established time, and there are no valid reasons for the buyer to back out of the deal, they could lose their earnest money deposited in the escrow account-typically 1 – 3 % of the property’s price.
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Both buyers and sellers need to read the language in the sales contract carefully. Usually if a buyer backs out, it will be because of an issue with the home inspection or financing and they’ll get back their deposit. If they just have a change of heart, then the seller will usually be entitled to keep the deposit.
Earnest money is put down when a buyer makes an offer on a house. However, if the home contract falls through, the buyer will likely want that money back. Whether it returns to the buyer depends on the reason the contract is being broken. If the buyer simply changes his mind, the seller gets it.
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