In a real estate transaction, when a buyer backs out of a deal do they get back all of their escrow money or does the seller get part or all of it?

Asked on January 11, 2013 under Real Estate Law, Nevada


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The seller is generally entitled to keep all the escrowed monies as damages for the buyer's breach of the agreement to buy the property, except--

1) If the buyer properly terminated the transaction according to some contingency or provision in the contract of sale which allowed him/her to do so without penalty; for example, the sale was properly terminated pursuant to a finance contingency.

2) If the reason the  sale was terminated was fraud (a material, knowing lie or misrepresentation) or material breach of  contract by the seller.

Apart from the above, the seller typically keeps the escrow.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.