Seller refusing to close escrow. I want to get my money back but Seller not cooperating.

In addition to earnest money, I have paid the full purchase price to the Escrow and was to close escrow on April 9. Escrow Company has transferred the funds to the Title Company but at last second needed to put it on hold because the Seller decides at the last second she wants to cancel the sale and declare bankruptcy. I want to get my full money back but am told I need Seller to also agree to any cancellation of Escrow. Seller is unreachable and may be unwilling to cancel. I've fulfilled my entire end of the bargain and the Seller is now failing to cooperate. At this point, I just want to get my money back but it seems she's just stalling. What to do?
In Buying Property - Asked by Peter O. - Apr 8, 2011
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Answer(s)

Matthew C.
Broker/Agent
Indianapolis, IN

Wow. Peter O. that is sad to hear. Unfortunatly it looks like your going to have to take it to court if the seller doesnt return the earnest money. I am not sure the state law for your state but in Indiana the court will actually make the seller close on the property if you have your paperwork in order and the seller is able to perform and just plain didnt want to. Again, this is not legal advice. Talk to a lawyer stat and get your local board of realtors involved. Hope everything works out for you.

Apr 11, 2011
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Rob B.
Chandler, AZ

Peter.....
As the English might say, “This is a sticky wicket” that you are in. However, it is not unheard of that a Seller changes it’s mind at the last minute. This has indeed happened in the past to a client of mine. Get an attorney. He or she will likely straighten this out in short order. You will either end up with the property or you will likely get your full funds refunded if that is your choice.
It is true that the Escrow holder cannot singularly cancel the escrow and return funds, unless the Escrow Instructions allow for it. However, the Seller appears to be clearly in default of the agreement.
My advice, is don’t fret, as long as you get decent representation. It will likely only take an attorney letter to the Seller, but if more is required your counselor will certainly guide you.
Onward and upward Peter…. Rob Baird, CA RE License #544165 (One of the oldest, active licenses in CA) 951 515-5855 Email: rob@capratecommercial.com

Apr 12, 2011
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Craig H.
Broker/Agent
Rogers, AR

The Arkansas Commercial Real Estate Contract has clear language that states the Buyer must remove contingencies in writing or the contract automatically fails and any earnest money deposits are returned to the Buyer. Unfortunately, an non-cooperative broker representing a seller can make a determination that the earnest money should be held until the Seller signs a release. That is not in the contract, and I was successful in small claims court in recapturing my clients earnest. Small Claims courts do not require an attorney, and the language is clear - The Judge rule in a 3 hour trial - Takes time

Apr 13, 2011
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Tai N.
Broker/Agent
City Of Industry, CA

Peter, I hope by the time you read this your problem will have been resolved. If it has not, and if you have not followed Rob's advice. You should seek legal counsel, attorney, immediately. Talk to a commercial real estate attorney specifically, they will save you time and money. Good luck...

May 26, 2011
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