How can I get my earnest money back

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How can I get my earnest money back

After I sign the contract I thought about it that night
and realized I couldn’t afford the mortgage amount so I
need to back out of the deal

Asked on August 27, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You *can't* just change your mind and back out of a deal and get your earnest money back, and not being able to afford the mortgage is *not* valid grounds to get out of the contract.
You can only get of the contract while getting your money back if one of the following exists or occurs:
1) The contract has some cancellation or termination clause that lets you terminate the agreement and get your money back, and you *precisely* comply with its requirements.
2) The seller provably lied to you about something material, or important, to get you to sign the contract; that would be fraud, and fraud provides a basis for voiding a contract.
3) The seller breaches or violates some material term of the agreement. 
Otherwise, you are obligated and the seller can keep your earnest money.

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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