Real Estate: Florida/Earnest money dispute

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Question
I am the seller in this situation. I got a contract for purchase of my home. A home inspection was held and repairs were made. An appraisal was completed. The 10 day due diligence had passed. 6 days before closing the buyer offered a lesser amount to purchase my home based on the fact that my real estate agent listed the square footage of my home at 2600 sq ft. In actuality it was 2200 sq ft. Am I entitled to the earnest money?

Answer
Karal,

Sorry for the delayed response and the difficult situation you are in.  

First and foremost...I am not an attorney and if the buyer cancels because of this issue and you want to keep the earnest money please seek the advice of a real estate attorney.  

Are you talking about total square feet or "heated" or "under air" square feet.  Most MLS (multiple listing service) ask for both.  Was the 2600 SF number attained from you, a survey or the public records?  

This issue comes down to the source of the information and the intent.  As the seller you must disclose any material fact that affects the value of the property.  400 SF under air could be considered "material fact" and then the question is... did you miss lead the buyer?  If yes, adjust the price or let the buyer cancel and give them their deposit back.

If the mistake was the listing agents and all material available (public records) indicated 2200 SF and they made a mistake and listed 2600 then you need an attorney to advise you of what your recourse could be against the real estate broker.

If the public records were wrong and this was the source for the listing agent then you need an attorney even more.  Just think about all the additional taxes you have paid?  

I wish I could be more definitive with my answer but as you can see there are a lot of questions. I hope this helps you a little. Feel free to follow-up with more information.

Regards,
Steve Schiffer
Olde Town Brokers, Inc.

Real Estate: Florida

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Steve Schiffer

Expertise

Questions about buying, selling, renting or investing in residential and small commercial real estate.

Experience

Licensed real estate agent since 2003

Organizations
Orlando Regional Real Estate Associate (ORRA)

Publications
WKMG Channel 6

Education/Credentials
GRI

Awards and Honors
Voted Orlando Magazine Hot Realtor in '06 & '07

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