Zillow Advice: Home Buying - If I reject a counter offer is, that justification for the seller to keep my earnest money deposit? http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ Zillow Advice | Zillow Real Estate Absolutely, a contract is ... http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ Absolutely, a contract is not ratified/accepted until all parties (the buyer and seller) have accepted and agreed to the terms of the contract and BOTH parties have signed. If the seller counters your offer you are not obligated to agree/sign the counter. Your original offer is then void and you can walk away with your earnest money deposit if the counter is not something you agree with. Tue, 17 Sep 2013 05:52:00 GMT http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ 2013-09-17T05:52:00Z So roughly speaking here's ... http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ So roughly speaking here's the process: The earnest money can't be deposited before the contract is finalized. This is a very crude way of looking at it but this may help.&nbsp;<br/>1- Offer&nbsp;<br/>2- Counter Offers<br/>3- Earnest Money Deposited into Escrow<br/>4- Escrow Opens<br/>4- Contingency Removals<br/>5- Close Fri, 30 Aug 2013 23:46:00 GMT http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ 2013-08-30T23:46:00Z You wont have a valid contract ... http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ You wont have a valid contract until both the original contract and all counter offers have been signed and accepted by all parties AND you have deposited the money with escrow. In California you will not send in your Earnest Money deposit until everyone has signed off and escrow is opened. The contract default periods are as follow:<br/><br/>1. Earnest Money Deposit:&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 3 Days<br/>2. Loan Approval &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 17 Days<br/>3. Appraisal&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 17 Days<br/>4. Inspections&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 17 Days (although this is usually shortened to 7-10 days during the counter offer process).<br/><br/>There are other technicalities that may buy you more time; a contingency period cannot end on a weekend or holiday, if the seller does not get you disclosures and/or reports within the stated time frame you have up to 5 days from receipt to review said disclosures/reports, etc. Your agent should be able to explain all of this to you. Good luck! Fri, 30 Aug 2013 16:00:00 GMT http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ 2013-08-30T16:00:00Z Yes of course once you counter ... http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ Yes of course once you counter that original contract is void and the earnest money should not have been deposited into an escrow account until both buyer and seller ratify the contract or come to a meeting of the minds. The earnest money is applied towards the purchase price if the deal goes through.&nbsp; If the deal doesn't go through then you can generally get your earnest money back, though this depends on how the contract is worded.&nbsp; If you&nbsp;<em>default</em>&nbsp;on the contract (for example, by not having the house inspected in the timeframe specified in the contract), then you can lose the earnest money. Fri, 30 Aug 2013 15:07:00 GMT http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ 2013-08-30T15:07:00Z Thanks Amy CI was unclear ... http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ Thanks Amy C<br/><br/>I was unclear about that. You just drew the big pic, thanks again. Just in case you read my post to you. Does this fall under the disclosure part for contingencies. i.e, If the sellers fail to point out any faults , is this still under the contingency period, does this make sense? thanks again. great info. Fri, 30 Aug 2013 06:09:00 GMT http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ 2013-08-30T06:09:00Z You will not deliver your ... http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ <p>You will not deliver your earnest money deposit to escrow until you have an accepted offer. So during the counter stages, there is no deposit.<br/><br/>Usually the contract states that you must deliver your deposit to escrow within 3 business days after acceptance. At that point, escrow holds your deposit during the escrow period. if at any time you decide to cancel the contract during your contingency period,&nbsp;your deposit will be released to you upon mutual agreement by buyer and seller. Once your contingencies are removed, your deposit becomes non-refundable.<br/><br/>The typical contingency period is 17 days. The 17th day can't fall on a weekend or holiday, so it gets pushed to the next business day which can buy you a day or two sometimes. Remember, when the 17th day comes, your contingencies are not automatically removed. They stay live (even on day 18, 19, 20 and so on) until you remove them in writing.<br/><br/>Good Luck!</p> Fri, 30 Aug 2013 05:58:00 GMT http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ 2013-08-30T05:58:00Z Thank You, LrozalesI was ... http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ Thank You, Lrozales<br/><br/>I was a bit confused on the translation of the non-refundable earnest money deposit. Thanks again for the clarification,good tip,nice.<br/><br/> Fri, 30 Aug 2013 05:34:00 GMT http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ 2013-08-30T05:34:00Z At this stage, your deposit ... http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ At this stage, your deposit is safe. You still don't have an escrow. Your deposit is at stake after your release all contingencies. Your agent should explain all of these to you. Fri, 30 Aug 2013 05:06:00 GMT http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/If-I-reject-a-counter-offer-is-that-justification-for-the-seller-to-keep-my-earnest-money-deposit/509252/ 2013-08-30T05:06:00Z