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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12207
Experience:  JD, MBA
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We are in the process of selling our home and in escrow with

Customer Question

We are in the process of selling our home and in escrow with a buyer who has a reputation of pulling out of escrow and/or making many demands the last few days prior to escrow closing.
How can we protect ourselves from any legal actions from our buyer who has continually added more demands that could have been negotiated earlier in the process. We are nearing just a few days of escrow closing. They now want us to give them $20,000 as security for a previously agreed lease back for two months at $1.00 per month after escrow closing. Plus, they want us to pay for an additional cost to remove something that was obviously observed the first day of Open House and never remarked about their desire to remove it until now.
If we agree we are concerned that we may not receive our $20,000 returned to us because this buyer will find reasons to hold on to it. We need advise because we have purchased another property that will close middle of September. We hope to move to that property.
Starting all over again with the potential of putting the house back on the market seems daunting considering our age and health. Thanking you in advance for your assistance.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do my very best to answer your legal questions.

The best way to deal with this type of situation is to get all of the terms in writing (including a specific closing date with a statement that "time is of the essence") and include a statement that these terms comprise the entire agreement, and that nothing shall modify this agreement unless it's in writing and signed by all parties.

If you already have something like that, then there is no reason for you to give any type of deposit at all if it's not already in the agreement. Of course, the difficulty is that the buyer may know that you have pressure because of the purchase of your new house in September, and that any delay will give you trouble. On the other hand, the buyer has pressure as well because he paid earnest money and doesn't want to lose it by refusing to settle.

But the bottom line is that the way to protect yourself is to get all terms (including important dates with a statement that "time is of the essence") in writing and signed by the buyer. If you have that, then any breach would allow you to keep the earnest money and search for a new buyer. Realistically, that won't happen because people don't want to lose their earnest money for nothing more than stubbornness or gamesmanship.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied.

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Hello again. I didn't hear back from you, so I'm just checking in to make sure that you don't need more help on this issue. If not, then please remember to provide a positive rating via the stars (and note that your positive rating is the only way that I'll get credit for helping you, so I greatly appreciate it). Thank you!

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