In August 2014, Buyer did not complete all inspections by deadline, and I (Seller) didn't grant an extension, so Buyer asked that $6000 be placed in escrow for any needed septic repairs. Buyer's mortgagee insisted that $6000 be in the form of a check, made out to a particular septic company. Contract does not contain any language giving Buyer a time limit on using the funds, nor does it indicate money would be returned to Seller if not used as intended.. Buyer has repeatedly attempted to bully septic company into cashing check and giving them funds, but septic company refuses, stating they won't act as a money laundering operation. Buyer then tried to get me to amend and extend the contract, letting them use the $6000 as they see fit. I refused and responded that they should use the money as specified in contract. I called Title company that is holding the $6000, and they say that if Buyer doesn't use the funds within 3 years, the $6000 will escheat to the State. Do I have any basis to claim these funds? ( I never thought of them as mine after the sale closed, but my real estate agent thinks it might be worth a shot. I would think the Buyer has an even greater claim?)
You should get a real estate litigation attorney to review all of the documents from the closing. Based on your statements, it appears the escrow agreement may not have been well written and/or failed to deal with a buyer who refused to do any repairs. The only way to resolve this may be going to court and asking a judge to declare who is entitled to the funds. It is possible your contract with the buyer and/or the escrow agreement could allow the prevailing party to force the other party to pay their court costs and attorney's fees.
It really depends on the wording of the agreement. However, based on your description, I think an argument could be made that if there are not $6,000 in septic repairs to be made, the remaining money should be returned to the seller.
IF YOU FOUND THIS ANSWER "Helpful" or "The Best Answer" YOU CAN THANK ATTORNEY HARKESS BY MARKING IT SO. The attorneys on this site are donating their time and talent by answering questions to help those in need of legal information. Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado and Massachusetts. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess and any person. You should schedule a consultation with a local attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.
I am not licensed in Colorado, so this answer is, by necessity, meant to be generic: it depends on the wording of the escrow agreement; and if there's none, the intent of the parties in creating it (which might be evidenced in texts/emails, etc). You will need a good local real estate attorney to construe the applicable document and facts (a seller in this situation SHOULD have had one when drafting the contract and escrow agreement; odds are, if not issues like this quite often arise). And I strongly suggest that no party take LEGAL advice from a real estate agent - unless, of course, he or she happens to be an attorney as well (just a suggestion).
Hope this helps.
This communication is not intended in any way to establish an attorney-client relationship, nor provide legal advice; it is submitted by its author simply as a general comment on the facts contained in the Question posed. NOTE: This attorney contributor is NOT actively seeking new clients.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline