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How to get the deposit money back from escrow?

We backed out or a deal after realizing the the condo had only 900 sqft instead of 1014 (that was advertised and listed). The appraisal shown only 900 sqft. The sellers sold the property again (it is pending) and they do not want to close the escrow and return the deposit. What are our options to get the deposit back? How can they open two escrows for the same property?
Thanks!
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September 02 2013 - West Park
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Before someone can give you an opinion, there are a couple of factors that you didn't cover in your inquiry.

First, had you already gone past the contingency period in your contract? (It is usually - prewritten on our CAR form - 17 days but can be shortened or lengthened by mutual agreement of all parties.)

If my question #1's answer from you is "Yes", the next question would be did you and the seller both sign a removal of contengencies form?  If so, that will make your case more difficult, in my legally unqualified opinion.

If your answer to my first question is "No", then you SHOULD be able to instruct escrow to release most of your deposit back to you - less their costs - but it will still require the approval of the seller, in order for them to release it to you.

What is your agent telling you about all this?

To answer your other question, the listing agent could always open a subsequent, later escrow with a different escrow company, although that would be a rare - in my opinion - circumstance.
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September 02 2013
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What contingencies did you have in your contract?   Did you meet those contingency deadlines, or withdraw after the contingencies expired?

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September 02 2013
Assuming you are due the deposit back pursuant to the contract, I would write a letter to the escrow company demanding a refund within a certain time (10 days for instance) and send it by Fedex, or certified mail, signature required.  If they don't respond, consult with a local real estate attorney.
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September 03 2013
In PA.  Another escrow on a subject property cannot be opened until a deposit money dispute is settled.  Be sure you are working with an agent to advise you as to whether you are legally entitled to the deposit and all the proper paperwork is filed.

Good luck.
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September 03 2013
Most listings in the MLS contain a boiler plate phrase - indicating it may or may not be accurate and is not guaranteed.  Nothing in the MLS can be disputed in court.  The sales contract rules the transaction in PA. 

If you were past your contingency periods and the property appraised regardless of the difference in square footage you may not be entitled to your escrow back.

Who advised you to cancel the contract because of the square footage? 

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September 03 2013
Hi,

Your agent should be able to help you get your deposit back. A seller cannot have two escrows open at once.

You need to have your agent send the sellers a cancellation of contract and the sellers need to sign to release the deposit.

Feel free to contact me directly with any further questions/concerns.

Best,

Jamie Tian
Rodeo Realty
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September 06 2013
 
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