Can I keep the hand money

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 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.

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.

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