Illinois  |  Real Estate Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 10/14/13, 9:17 am

Hello, My house is currently listed for sale. Unfortunately, due to an extreme hardship I had to do a short sale. I had a person make an offer towards the end of July and the contract was signed The person gave an offer of ten thousand dollars. The bank approved the short sale and advised closing would need to take place by October 25th. On last Thursday I received an email notification from the realtor that the home was scheduled for viewing. I contacted the realtor to find out the buyer stated he was no longer qualified for a loan. I received no documentation to verify this information. Please advise since the buyer cancelled the deal; is he entitled to be refunded the earnest money. As stated, I have been experiencing an extreme hardship for over a year. I had tripe bypass heart surgery, I returned to my job after a year only to a decreased salary. After six months I was terminated. Since July of last year, I have been unable to meet my obligations as I had always previously done. To avoid any further hardship, I decided to place my home up for sale I apologize if I provided more information than needed. I would appreciate your assistance with this matter. Thank you in advance for your reply.

2 Answers


Answered on: 10/14/13, 9:30 am by Stephen Messutta

Without seeing the contract there is no way anyone can give you firm legal advice. Having said that, if the contract was contingent on the buyer being able to get financing and the buyer's financing fell through, there's a good chance that the contract says the buyer gets back the earnest money. There may be additional factors, contractual provisions and communications that affect this, so it's time to contact an attorney. Being the prospective seller, there may be attorneys in your area who will give you an initial consult without obligation hoping that the contract can be salvaged or if not that when you do have a contract the attorney will be able to represent you.


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Answered on: 10/15/13, 3:42 pm by Henry Repay

I agree with Attorney Messutta. I also ask, however, whether bankruptcy should be a consideration. While it would be admirable to avoid that route, I find that too many people avoid bankruptcy, but then end up filing anyway after they have (a) exhausted resources that perhaps could have been saved (such as retirement funds), (b) created unnecessary issues with family and friends; or (c) otherwise have made the situation worse.

The scope of this space does not afford an opportunity to assess the situation and advise you. I recommend you assemble for legal consultation: (1) your income information for May 2013 through the present, including wages and unemployment during that period; (2) all your bills (copies neatly assembled, back pages included); (3) last four years’ tax returns; (4) a credit report (use www.annualcreditreport.com to obtain free report if not requested in last year); and (5) other information that may apply, such as copies of lawsuits. Call at your earliest convenience to afford the most opportunity in which to be advised about your best course. You are not required to use an attorney in your area.

I do not recommend filing bankruptcy on your own. There are too many complex issues. I have seen several posts on this site for debtors who filed on their own and are seeking counsel concerning complications. Most of them will have a hard time finding an attorney to get involved to unwind the mess without the attorney charging several times what would originally have been paid.


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Law Offices of Henry Repay 930 West Locust Street Belvidere, IL 61008-4226

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