Contract ratification

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Contract ratification

My fiance and I are looking to buy a home in Florida and came a cross what looked to be a lovely new development. After putting the deposit down and signing the contract only a few days later family issues arose that will make buying this home too difficult for us right now. Talking to the sellers they agree to end the contract which has yet to be signed by them, however are telling us we wont get our deposit money back. What are my options? I’m afraid they are going to sign the contract and tell me that I’m SOL.

Asked on August 28, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You do not have any right to your deposit back once you put the money down and sign the contract; once you did that, you showed your agreement to the contract and obligated yourself to it. Once that occurs, you can only get your deposit back if one or more of the following occured:
1) There is some term, clause or provision in the contract which would let you terminate the contract without penalty and recover your deposit, and you fully comply with all that provision's requirements.
2) The seller committed fraud, or intentionally lied about something material or important, to get you to sign; fraud provides grounds to void contracts.
3) The seller breached, or violated, some material or important contract provision.
Otherwise, the seller is entitled to your deposit if you walk away from the deal, and your family issues are not legal grounds to recover the deposit.

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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