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I signed a contract to buy a condo in 2006.I gave $60,000 as…

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I signed a contract to...
I signed a contract to buy a condo in 2006.I gave $60,000 as earnest money.The contract says the condo will be substantially completed by March 2009.The condo is completed now.The builders wants to close now.Can I get out of contract and get my earnest money back for not completing condo on time.That is almost one year an 3 months late. Thanks.
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
6/23/2010
Real Estate Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 8 years ago
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 126,810
Experience: Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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Unless your contract specified that the contract was "time of the essence" I am afraid on these contracts the courts look at whether or not the completion time was reasonable. Additionally, the court will look at whether or not you gave notice to the builder all along during the building process demanding completion before March 2009 and since then as well. These cases can be very expensive to pursue when there was no "time of the essence" clause in the contract, but if you can show the delay in completion was unreasonable you could succeed in terminating the contract and obtaining the refund.


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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
The contract does says under MISCELLANEOUS paragraph. Time is of essence of this contract.Meanwhile All this time i and the builder did not contact each other.So what are my chances of getting my money back.What could be the other reasons to get my earnest money back.Thanks.
Real Estate Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 8 years ago
So because it says time is of the essence you have a much better than average chance of recovering BUT the only hurdle you face is you did not bring the suit for over a year and they would argue that your waiting more than a year after the contract was supposed to be completed would be a waiver of your right to claim time of the essence.
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 126,810
Experience: Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Please answer my question. Thanks.Are there few more reasons i can get my earnest money back.Thankks.
Real Estate Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 8 years ago
No, earnest money is refundable only when the contract is breached by no fault of your own. Here the only breach is the failure to complete the construction on time because you had a "time is of the essence" contract. Had you not had the time of the essence clause, then the court would be looking at the reasons for the construction not being completed on time and would make the subjective determination as to whether or not the delay was reasonable. As I have already said, the only thing you will have to overcome is not raising the time of the essence issue sooner than one year three months after the fact. But the breach of the other party is the only reason earnest money would be refundable, since absent contract making it refundable, earnest money by definition is non-refundable.
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
our case is in court.Builder wants to give $15000.25% of earnest money back as settllement..Should I take it or continue fight in court for more money.what are my chances of winning all 60000 $.
Real Estate Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 7 years ago
Honestly, and you need to evaluate your attorney's fees on this, but I believe that is a low offer on this based on the facts you described. You may want to counter for at least 80% and your goal is to try to force them to come up to at least 50% or better of the amount before you should consider settlement. Settlement is always a tough call for a client, but based on your "time is of the essence" agreement you are in a bit better position, plus you can argue they still have the condo to sell.
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
My attorney asked them for $35000 they do not want to give any more.My attorney reccomonds that i settle for $15000.so far i have given $2000 to my attorney assuming that is the flat fee.If i do not win i may loose all the money.Please advice.
Real Estate Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 7 years ago
If your attorney is suggesting that amount, I would still hold off for at least $25,000-$20,000 since you offered $35,000 last. They have some room to go yet, so I don't think you need to rush it right now.
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