Real Estate Law
Have Real Estate Law Questions? Ask a Real Estate Lawyer.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply,but rest assured, I am working on your question.
What do you mean "keep"?
Do you mean retain in an escrow account?
Or do you mean keep for themselves personally?
What is the back story about why the broker is retaining earnest money?
Ok, that is completely improper because if you deposited earnest money with a broker, that is essentially a security deposit that would go towards a purchase.
No purchase means that you are entitled to that money back..
I am a little confused about why you would give the broker money if you hadn't made an offer on a house as that is exactly backward to the normal process?
If the broker won't return your money, you can file a formal complaint with the GA Real Estate Commission for the broker's actions and they can discipline them and order them to refund your money as this is highly improper.
That or file suit directly against the broker under a breach of contract claim. If it was under $15,000 you can sue them in small claims court and don't need an attorney.
But even if you sue them, I would still file the complaint with the GA REC because they might have done this to other people who just let it go rather than take action..
Ok, then that wouldn't make it non-refundable regardless of what the broker says.. Something smells fishy here and the broker might have spent the money on their own expenses and now are trying to put up a smokescreen that it was "nonrefundable" to cover their tracks..
So your recourse remains the same.. file a formal complaint with the GA REC and either immediately file suit or if you didn't want to jump right to that, have a local civil litigation attorney send a "demand letter" for the deposit or you will sue. Sometimes a letter from an attorney is all that is necessary to "encourage" someone to act rather than risk being dragged into court to lose and have to pay even more.
You are very welcome. Happy to help any time.
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