What are our rights if due to the results of inspection we cancelled the contract to purchase a home?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What are our rights if due to the results of inspection we cancelled the contract to purchase a home?

The buyer signed the release of the earnest money deposit but we have yet to receive the funds. They were held by the seller. The seller is now refusing to return phone calls or answer emails. The selling agent is also refusing to help, and they have simply handed over contact information to the seller. We can’t threaten legal action against the seller as they are unreachable. Do we have any legal options against the sellers agent? I think if we have a legal ground with them maybe they can help to get the money back. Also the house is already pending sale again even though our money isn’t returned. Is it legal for them to sell the home before returning our money?

Asked on September 2, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

No, you have no rights against the seller's agent, because they are not doing anything wrong--they legally cannot release the funds without their seller's approval to do so. And, for that matter, it's not a given that the funds are in the agent's escrow account check the contract for where they are being held. 
You obviously know the seller's address--you were buying their home. Sue them all you need to institute a lawsuit is the home address of the party being sued. Sue them for breach of contract not honoring their obligation to return the funds and for conversion holding onto funds to which they are not legally entitled essesentially, a form of theft.

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