Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty)

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Anna Hatridge
Goodson Realty - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with Goodson Realty

In 13 years only had 1 issue and it was resolved within 30 days.  I always discuss EM when listing for a seller and I always discuss EM with the buyers by giving them the 'how it works' information.  This includes what happens if the deal does not work out. Now if the property is a REO then I highlight the terms regarding EM and my client. 

Dec 13, 2015 01:10 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers I've had two EMD disputes during my career. On both the seller refused to sign the Release to give the buyer (my clients) a refund of their EMD. On the first one, my company took care of the issue and paid the buyer without the a release. Since then my State has come out with specific procedures for handling escrow funds. I followed the procedures and the seller finally signed the release before the court having to make the decision for them.

Dec 13, 2015 01:03 AM
Jeffrey Jones
AZ Home Seekers - San Tan Valley, AZ
AZ Home Seekers,

We always fight. I one instance our clients money was held, the dispute was not worth the cost and effort to pusue, we reimbursed our clients the earnest funds out of our own pocket. They have been clients for life ever since.

Dec 13, 2015 12:23 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

In Oklahoma we are transactional brokers and therfore work for the transaction. When it comes to earnest money the contract is quite specific and how it should be distributed. Our contracts are very buyer oriented and it is like the Paul Simon I will paraphrase, there must be 50 ways to get out of your contract.

Dec 13, 2015 01:08 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

When you represent a client, whether they are a buyer or a seller, you have to represent them until the end.  

Dec 13, 2015 01:01 AM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

Protecting our clients' $$ is probably THE most important thing we do. And while that deposit is soft, we will micromanage the hell out of our clients to be sure, get all done, know all and understand consequences. In 14 years, ONE earnest dispute--and the buyers were CA brokers and were not LISTENING to us on how AZ and their contract worked.

Dec 13, 2015 12:46 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,


Dec 13, 2015 12:16 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

I leave much of that to the broker's advice, and most earnest money here is a fairly small amount.

Dec 25, 2017 11:45 PM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Tony and Suzanne - Wow, that took like a half hour to read everything. What a question!

I have had some disputes regarding the timing of everything, as well as the difference between what the boilerplate purchase contract says versus what was written on an addendum.

What you have taught everyone, I believe, is that you must be thorough in reviewing any contractual obligations, and know and understand what everything means.

By the way, I have never had an issue that went as far as your example. Usually the issues I dealt with were resolved in the matter of a couple of days.

Dec 15, 2015 06:17 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers - happened couple of times where sellers refused to sign the release after the buyers decided to back out based on home inspection issues.

I work for my clients - and as long as it is fair for them to get back the deposit, I'll be with them.

Dec 13, 2015 12:34 PM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I have never had an E-Money issue

Dec 13, 2015 11:07 AM
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

The earnest money is put into escrow with the broker or the escorw agent. The contract spells out how this can be released. It is not in my authority to make the decision. If my client requests it, I ask he put it in writing and I will present it in the best light to the other party and the escrow holder.

Dec 13, 2015 10:47 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

It depends on the circumstances.  If my client is bad and wrong and the other side seriously wants their deposit, I suggest they talk to an attorney - but I will still try to work things out with the other agent before getting lawyers involved. 

Dec 13, 2015 09:57 AM
Stefan Winter
Real Estate in IL & NV | Owner of Real Estate Web Tech | Daily Vlogger - Las Vegas, NV
Owner - Winter Group & Real Estate Web Tech

I had one fight for earnest money before and I got it back for my client. He never had to make a single phone call.

Dec 13, 2015 09:10 AM
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

I will fight tooth and claw to the bitter end. I do not fight senseless battles ... I choose them wisely.  I believe in fighting for what is right. 

Dec 13, 2015 08:35 AM
Richard L. McKinney P.A.
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
For Results that MOVE you on the Treasure Coast!

Not vigorously at all ... I simply refer to the contract and discuss options. I look for a win / win .... if the customer feels differently then I advise them to go hire a lawyer. ( I have done this many times and they have always came back to the table )

We have always been able to work them out very quickly without going to an actual dispute. 

Dec 13, 2015 05:07 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

all of our clients have their own attorneys....any and all disputes are handled through that avenue.....

Dec 13, 2015 03:53 AM
David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation
Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential

Tony and Suzanne,
The Texas contract calls for triple damages plus costs if a party doesn’t release EM. That solved a lot of problems.

The Colorado contract says “entitled to” earnest money. That requires an explanation.


I’ve never had an EM problem in either state.

Dec 13, 2015 03:39 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Typically, earnest money disputes are handled by attorneys and/or mediators in my area.  Though, I will be called on to help present the facts.

Dec 13, 2015 03:27 AM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Well, if it doesn't happen once in a while, you're not writing enough contracts! But, that's a tough call. Last one I was on sellers side & we still haven't given the buyers their money after 3 years now. After a certain period of time in IL, it gets deposited with the state.

Dec 13, 2015 03:03 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I seek resolution and that is the work required. Money is part of that

Dec 13, 2015 02:45 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

You just have to stay with the facts and the truth.

Dec 13, 2015 01:31 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

The buyer haggles loan interest rate for 3 weeks. Interest went up the borrower released all the contigiency and canceled the contract. 


Dec 13, 2015 01:22 AM
Michael Thacker - Re/Max Real Estate Center - Louisville
Re/Max Real Estate Center - The Thacker Group - Louisville, KY
Your best friend who just happens to be a Realtor

I've never had this happen luckily. 

Dec 13, 2015 01:17 AM