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A tug of war over the earnest money

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A toy house and $1 bills on top of a blank contract

04/08/2015 | Author: TAR Legal Staff

A buyer backed out of purchasing my home and has asked for his earnest money back, but I think I’m entitled to keep his earnest money. He didn’t cancel during the option period, and he hasn’t given any other legitimate reason for backing out of the deal. How do I prove that I’m entitled to the earnest money? Also, can I continue to look for other buyers while I try to settle the earnest-money issue?

If you and the buyer can’t agree on who is entitled to the earnest money, it’s prudent to settle that issue before putting your home back on the market. Getting the first contract formally terminated will ensure you can sell your home to someone else without risking a lawsuit that could stop that second transaction.

Regarding your dispute with the buyer over the earnest money, Texas Real Estate Commission contracts require buyers and sellers to try to resolve disputes in mediation before heading to court

If you’re intent on putting your house back on the market before resolving your earnest-money dispute, keep in mind that many title companies will refuse to process a second transaction if the first contract has not been officially terminated. If that does not dissuade you, you should consult an attorney concerning the risks of proceeding with a subsequent sale of the property without a settlement of the earnest-money issue.

Have a question about buying, sell, or leasing property in Texas? Ask us. Not all submitted questions will be answered.

Categories: Legal, Sellers
Tags: earnest money, selling

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Legal disclaimer

The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on texasrealestate.com. Any legal or other information found here, on texasrealestate.com, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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