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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37854
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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Can a real estate broker keep earnest money in the state of

Customer Question

can a real estate broker keep earnest money in the state of GA
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

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.

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What do you mean "keep"?

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Do you mean retain in an escrow account?

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Or do you mean keep for themselves personally?

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What is the back story about why the broker is retaining earnest money?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was told by the broker that the money was non refundable even though i never made a offer on any property.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

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.

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No purchase means that you are entitled to that money back..

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well it was actually given to the agent who was representing me to make a purchase on a property but the price could never get negotiated.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

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..

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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.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks a lot
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time.

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If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided as that is the only way I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

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Thanks much

Barrister