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Is it legal to have two earnest money contracts on 1 home from 2 separate buyers? The home was sold but my $ was not returned.

Houston, TX |

I placed the contract on the home in Oct. 2013. I was not approved however my loan officer lead me to believe I was and I went past the 10 day grace period to receive my earnest money back according to the contract. I just found out the seller sold the home in Nov 2013 which means he had to have had another earnest money contract. He has not released my funds back to me and I refuse to sign the release of funds to him. Do I have legal grounds to receive my money back?

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Attorney answers 3


The dates don't make sense in your post

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While real estate matters vary wildly from state to state, here is a general overview. Sellers often accept offers from multiple potential buyers. Back in the good ole days before the housing market bubble burst, bidding wars between multiple potential buyers were a common sight. Under normal circumstances, the seller accepts one offer and rejects all others. At that point, the seller and the winning bidder have a sales contract; and the losing bidders do not. Any deposits provided by the losing bidders should be returned to them. Having said that, there may be exceptions which an attorney would only find after first reviewing the documents and all pertinent facts. Also, your state may have laws preventing deceptive banking practices. I note another possibility: the money you paid to your loan officer may have been given as part of that bank's policy of collecting a fee to prepare or review loan applications. I recommend a careful review of those bank documents. Based on facts not known to me, but which should be disclosed to an attorney during a consultation, you may have a case against the home seller, your real estate agent, and your loan officer. I suggest you immediately consult with a real estate or litigation attorney to discuss all the facts of your case.

I am not licensed in TX. Laws vary from state to state. This answer provides only a general overview of the law. Consult a local attorney for a thorough discussion of all the facts of your case. I wish you the best.

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First, sometimes homes sell quickly. Therefore, you cannot assume two contracts were placed on the home at the same time. Second, many contracts allow for back-up contracts to be executed in case the first doesn't close. This is also possible in your situation. Finally, an attorney would need to review your contract to determine whether you are entitled to your earnest money. Sometimes the earnest money is refundable solely because of a failure to receive adequate financing. Other times, the buyer must terminate the contract during the option period (inspection period / due diligence period depending upon the contract).

If you want to review it further, then you should probably hire an attorney to review your specific transaction.

The above statements are provided as general information and not intended as legal advice. Each matter has its own set of unique circumstances that cannot be adequately addressed without consultation. You are strongly advised to hire an attorney licensed to practice law in your state to represent you.