Can the seller keep my earnest money if he is not willing to give me an extension?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can the seller keep my earnest money if he is not willing to give me an extension?

I signed a contract on a home, however the appraisal came in $35,000 lower than the negotiated sale price the contract is contingent on my selling my home. My buyers needed an extension so the closing date was delayed 10 days. The sellers of the home I am buying refused to give me an extension and threatens to keep my earnest money.

Asked on May 30, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can keep your earnest money and do not have to give you an extension. You signed a contract and agreed to a closing date; if you cannot close on time, you will be in breach of contract, which would entitle the seller to keep your deposit. Your unilateral (without your own seller's consent) decision to give your buyers an extension does not obligate your seller to give you one. 

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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