Is there any way to get a new home deposit refunded if the contingency period has passed?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Is there any way to get a new home deposit refunded if the contingency period has passed?

I gave a deposit for a house that I was going to buy in another state. At the time I was expecting an almost confirmed promotion at my job that would have let me move to this other state and work from home. However, something happened and I wasn’t able to get the promotion and the time to get the deposit money back under the contract had already passed. I talked with the builder and they told me that the most that they could do was to hold the money for when I’m able to move to this state. Is there any way that I can get my money back or at least some of it?

Asked on September 18, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you are not entitled to the money back. You breached the contract by not buying the home; when the buyer breaches, the seller or builder may keep the deposit. It doesn't matter if it was not your fault--i.e. due to a promotion not coming through. All that matters is it was not the seller's fault: you can only get your deposit back when the seller breached the contract (such as by not being able to close or transfer title) or committed fraud (such as by lying about the features the home would have).

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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