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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 38257
Experience:  17 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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I am the seller of vacant land. The buyer pulled out & now

Customer Question

I am the seller of vacant land. The buyer pulled out & now wants his deposit back $20,000. No continguencies were broken, no contract other than if buyer pulls out for "unforseeable circumstances" depost will be returned. Verbal agreement was deposit would be returned if seller (me) could not procur clean title. Buyer decided to purchase adjacent property "a better deal." Buyer moved onto property & started improvements (outhouse & RV established). Do I have to return the deposit?
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: Kern county, Ca.
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: No.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Thats it I think
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I type out an answer or reply.

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You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by the website and you are under no obligation to accept.

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Are you saying that the buyer just changed his mind and now wants his deposit back?

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Is there anything in the written contract that states that the buyer can back out for any reason?

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Do you have a clean title?

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thanks

barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
the buyer just changed his mind & now wants the deposit back.
No written contact in escrow, just a single page typed "Partial Property Payment Contract".
I can send you a copy. Or this is what it says.
"This contract is a legally binding agreement between buyer & seller"
I (buyer) agree to a $20,000 partial payment to (me) for the above properties mentioned. The $20,000 payment is only intended for the use of paying off the existing property lien of $19,000.
This payment is in good faith to allow (me) to pay off the existing lien & to get title in hand as to move forward with balance going into escrow for the remainder of the purchase. Total properties amount $130,000. Payment amount $20,000. Balance in escrow $110,000.
The balance of $110,000 will be paid through an escrow account. In the event we fall out of escrow due to unforeseen circumstances the partial payment of $20,000 will be returned in full within 30 days of ending escrow."
We both signed. We had a verbal agreement that if I could not produce title I would return deposit. Nothing was ever mentioned if buyer changed his mind or decided to pull out.
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

Ok, then I don't see any legal grounds for him to get his money back if he just changed his mind and you aren't in breach of any type..

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Changing your mind doesn't get you out of a contract unless there a contingency that gives you the right to back out at any time.

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So you can tell the buyer, tough, if he doesn't want your land, then he is in breach and he isn't getting his deposit back for breaking the contract.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
What are the possible legal actions that the buyer may choose? How should I notify him of my decision to provide no refund. Can you produce a letter for me?
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

He can try and file suit against you for the money back. But he would have to prove that you either breached the contract somehow or he had a legal right to back out of the contract.

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I would suggest that you contact a local real estate law attorney to send a certified letter stating that he is in breach of the contract and if he doenst' want to move forward, then you are terminating the contract and declaring him in breach and retaining any deposit.

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Unfortunately, I am not allowed to represent customers from the site or recommend anyone personally under my agreement with JustAnswer. However, these are a couple sites that we attorneys actually use if we need local counsel in a state where we aren't licensed. Further, customers have consistently reported good results with these sites:

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www.martindale.com

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www.lawyers.com

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They screen their attorneys based on geographic location, area of practice, time in practice, cost and customer reviews.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you very much.
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time.

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It was my pleasure to work with you and help with your question. If you ever need me in the future, you can post a new question with "For Barrister" in the caption and the JustAnswer employees will get it to me.

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If you feel I have answered all your questions, I would very much appreciate a 5 star rating by clicking on the rating scale on your screen as that is the only way I receive credit for my work.

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Thanks much

Barrister

Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

Hello again,

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I just wanted to touch base with you and check in.

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Did you have any further questions I can help with?

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Thanks much

Barrister