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Recently, I had my home on market and sold it but the buyer got cold feet 2 weeks before closing. I have a signed contract contingent upon getting mortgage, home inspection and approval of the attorney and mobile home park where the home is located. All of which she had. She just got scared. Am I able to sue for hardship on my part because she didn’t want to honor her commitment? Since she took so long to decide she was scared, we are now into a season when real estate doesn’t move very fast and now I am responsible for 2
mortgages. I lost almost 2 months that the house could have been shown.
Asked on October 22, 2019 under Real Estate Law, New York
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 1 year ago | Contributor
1) You can keep the deposit or earnest money.
2) If your losses--e.g. the extra amounts you end up having to spend paying a second mortgage and other costs of this home--exceed the deposit, then you may be able to sue for the excess, so long as the contract of sale did not limit your recovery in the even of the buyer's breach to the deposit. (Some homesale contracts do limit the seller to keeping the deposit, and if there is such a limitation in your contract, it is legal and enforceable.)
Example: say that you lost two months in marketing the house, as you indicate. Say that those two months, in terms of all costs (insurance, mortgage, taxes or any share of taxes you pay, utilities, any monthly fees or rent to the mobile harm park, etc.) cost you a total of $6,000. Say that the deposit was $3,000. You could sue for the extra $3,000 not covered by keeping the deposit.