I have recently received several questions regarding buyer-seller good faith deposit disputes. Now that multiple offers are more common, sellers seem to be of the opinion that, once they accept an offer, that the buyers need to be seriously committed to the property.
I know one seller accepted one offer out of ten based on a very good price and financing terms. In making this choice the seller felt very committed to that buyer and expected the same level of dedication, and honesty, in return. Apparently, this buyer stated she was getting one type of loan described in her offer and then tried to switch out for another, less desirable, type of loan during the escrow period without clearing that “contract change” with the seller’s agent and the seller.
Once the deal fell out of escrow, the seller told his agent that he felt tricked and lied to and has requested all or part of the good faith deposit to be turned over to him. Good faith deposits are just that – good faith. To stay out of trouble, it is important for buyers to think about how their actions might be perceived it something goes wrong if they try to change terms within the contract, especially if that is the reason for the deal falling out of escrow.