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KJL LAW, Arbitrator
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 1543
Experience:  Attorney at Law Office of KJLLAW
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I put a $5,000 deposit down on a lot. We spent much time

Customer Question

I put a $5,000 deposit down on a lot. We spent much time deciding which lot would be best for us. I had intended to start building immediately because my former residence was under contract and due to close within 2 weeks. The close on my former residence didn't happen - the buyer pulled out because I didn't have a clean title and at the last minute she decided that she didn't want to wait. I did have title insurance.
Once I lost that buyer it took almost a year to sell my house. In that time, the contractor kept my deposit on the lot. I asked my realtor if I should put more money down on the lot so that I could keep and she said no.
Approximately 4 months later I happened to be driving near the development and I decided to go look at the lot. It was being developed and a house had already been started. I didn't know what to do. When I confronted the contractor, he said that his partner had sold the lot and didn't tell him.
I eventually sold my former residence and entered into a contract to build a house in the same development. I had to pick a different lot which I did, but I have to say that I am still upset that my original lot was sold. I told the contractor that I should have been given the option to buy the land outright first - which I would have done if I had known that I was going to lose it. Now I have to drive by that lot every day and it still hurts me that I lost it.
Do I have any recourse?
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Damien Bosco replied 12 months ago.

Hello. My name is***** am an attorney. I will review your question and develop a response. We may discuss it too. Does that sound good to you?

Expert:  KJL LAW replied 12 months ago.

Good morning.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. No attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site, the answers are for general information. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

You would have recourse and standing to sue the builder who sold you the first lot if you had a contract for the sale. Some contracts for sale of land, where you place a deposit down on the lot, clearly state that if you don’t proceed with the building of the house by a certain date then you forfeit the down payment. If you did not sign a contract but another document where you agreed to just put money down to hold the lot, unless it also stated that it was not refundable, you would be able to get a credit for the deposit.

Read through the contract and papers you signed for the first lot and that will determine if you could sue for a refund of the deposit.

Expert:  KJL LAW replied 12 months ago.

If you have any additional questions please let me know.