How do I get a refund of a $10,000 down payment that I made on a condo if the seller pulled out of the transaction?

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How do I get a refund of a $10,000 down payment that I made on a condo if the seller pulled out of the transaction?

It’s been over a month and I still have not received my 10G down payment refund. Seller “appears” to be giving me the runaround. Should I seek legal action to recover my refund? What would a lawyer charge me to recover my down payment?

Asked on January 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you are in contract and still want to buy the condominium that you are writing about, I suggest that you consult with a real estate attorney about forcing the seller to sll the unit to you under the written contract that you have by way of a specific performance action.

If you do not want to purchase the property now, I suggest that you first contact the presumed escrow company about the return of your $10,000 down payment (deposit) and the need for you and the seller to sign a cancellation of escrow and return of deposit document. If you get no headway on this request, you should consult with a real estate attorney.

As to the charge of such attorney, it varies. Most likely there is an attorney's fee provision in your purchase contract. If so, an attorney might represent you on a contingency fee basis.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the seller will not voluntarily return the deposit, you will have to sue him or her to seek it's return; if the seller was the one who pulled out, then you should have a very good chance of prevailing.

It's impossible to predict exactly how much a lawyer would charge for this--it depends on 1) the lawyer's hourly rate, which varies (it can pay to shop around); and 2) whether the seller puts up any defense or not, settles early or goes all the way to trial, etc., since these factors will affect how much time is required.

It is probably reasonable to predict that it would cost from $1,500 - $3,000, but that is a very broad average for matters like this.


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