Can I keep the hand money

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Can I keep the hand money

My attic has mold. I am having it
remediate per buyers wishes. All of a
sudden she may want to back out of
deal depending on the type of mold.
The mold remover guy has assured her
that any problems will be removed. I
am complying with her requests so can
I keep her hand money if she backs out

Asked on November 18, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, if you are complying with the request to remediate (correct the problem), you are fulfiling your obligations under the contract. Since you are in compliance and are correcting the condition, if she "backs out" of the deal, she will be breaching the contract of sale; that breach will  entitle you to keep her deposit or earnest money. Buyer's only get their money back if:
1) The seller breached the seller's obligations in some material, or important, way;
2) The contract has a contingency allowing them to get it back, and they fully comply with whatever is required by the contingency and are allowed to get their money back under the existing circumstances; or
3) The deal becomes impossible due to some factor beyond both parties' control, like the house being struck by lightning and burning down, so the seller can't sell it to the buyer.


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