NEW: BP Podcast 66: Flips, Apartments, & Protecting Yourself From Professional Tenants with Michael Blank

Hide this

From the BiggerPockets Blog

 BiggerPockets Blog »

Jump to Forum View All

Click a category below to view different forum categories.


General Info

BiggerPockets Q&A, Site Questions, & Announcements

1509 topics, 14384 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 09:38AM

BiggerPockets Exclusive PRO Area

117 topics, 838 posts — Last Post 04/16/14, 09:08PM

New Member Introductions

10866 topics, 85401 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 11:59AM

Real Estate Success Stories

393 topics, 6113 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 11:58AM

General Real Estate

General Real Estate

Buying & Selling Real Estate

5917 topics, 46644 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 12:11PM


644 topics, 5809 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 12:04PM

Get Foreclosure Help - Help Stop Foreclosure Forum

316 topics, 2557 posts — Last Post 04/16/14, 03:58AM

Home Owner Association (HOA) Issues & Problems Forum

237 topics, 1609 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 08:53AM

Do it Yourself

653 topics, 6259 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 08:00AM

Reviews & Feedback

Real Estate Deal Analysis and Advice

3661 topics, 29347 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 12:05PM

Real Estate Guru, Book & Course Reviews and Discussions

1131 topics, 11539 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 06:52AM

Ask About A Real Estate Company

738 topics, 7298 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 12:12PM

Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Strategies


5588 topics, 43670 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 10:34AM

Rehabbing and House Flipping

3325 topics, 30920 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 11:42AM

Real Estate Development & New Home Construction

551 topics, 4678 posts — Last Post 04/14/14, 01:02AM

Innovative Strategies

701 topics, 5999 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 09:21AM

Tax Liens, Notes, Paper, & Cash Flows Discussion

864 topics, 6666 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 11:59AM

Rent to Own a.k.a. Lease Purchase, Lease Options

690 topics, 4865 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 05:52AM

1031 Exchanges

143 topics, 1052 posts — Last Post 04/16/14, 05:39PM

Foreclosure Investing

General Foreclosure & Pre-Foreclosure Forums

1686 topics, 11283 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 09:56AM

HUD, VA, and Tax Sales

414 topics, 3088 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 07:35AM


1213 topics, 10565 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 07:23AM

Short Sales

1533 topics, 13117 posts — Last Post 04/15/14, 07:10PM

Landlord & Tenant Forums

Landlord & Rental Property Questions

7191 topics, 70599 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 12:12PM

Mobile Homes & Mobile Home Park Investing

636 topics, 5127 posts — Last Post 04/15/14, 09:59PM

Investor Basics

Starting Out

7685 topics, 60339 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 11:47AM

Investor Psychology

430 topics, 6092 posts — Last Post 04/14/14, 06:53PM

General Real Estate Investing

4711 topics, 37162 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 11:46AM

Real Estate Investor Marketing

1730 topics, 14085 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 10:08AM

Commercial Real Estate

Commercial Real Estate Investing Forum

1408 topics, 8979 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 11:52AM

Multi-Family and Apartment Investing

1104 topics, 9176 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 11:30AM

The Business of Real Estate

Real Estate Technology and the Internet

Real Estate Technology, Social Media & Blogging

638 topics, 4884 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 06:48AM

Business Basics

Goals, Business Plans & Entities

829 topics, 7535 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 11:32AM

Real Estate Finance & Legal

Financial, Tax, and Legal

Tax, Legal Issues, Contracts, Self-Directed IRA

2782 topics, 19991 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 10:19AM

Property Insurance

309 topics, 2043 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 08:42AM

Personal Finance Discussion

328 topics, 2723 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 11:17AM

Loans, Mortgages, Credit Lines

Private & Conventional Lending Discussion

2826 topics, 19669 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 11:26AM

Creative Real Estate Financing

1207 topics, 8759 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 08:16AM

Crowdfunding Real Estate

35 topics, 455 posts — Last Post 04/14/14, 02:14PM

Real Estate Professionals

Real Estate Professionals

Real Estate Agents

1205 topics, 7952 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 12:05PM

Bankers, Lenders, and Mortgage Brokers

440 topics, 1917 posts — Last Post 04/15/14, 07:37AM


266 topics, 1673 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 10:25AM

Local Real Estate

Local Real Estate

Local Real Estate Networking & Recommendations

1983 topics, 11577 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 06:23AM

Americans & International Real Estate

161 topics, 566 posts — Last Post 04/14/14, 11:19AM

Foreigners Buying in the USA

62 topics, 409 posts — Last Post 04/10/14, 06:27AM

Canadian Real Estate

64 topics, 426 posts — Last Post 04/16/14, 08:34AM


Real Estate Marketplace

Real Estate Marketplace

14999 topics, 53883 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 11:37AM

Real Estate Events and Happenings

163 topics, 2462 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 11:42AM


Off Topic


2902 topics, 32399 posts — Last Post 04/16/14, 03:07PM

Housing News & Real Estate Market

914 topics, 8351 posts — Last Post 04/17/14, 08:41AM

BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing Summit

97 topics, 1751 posts — Last Post 04/10/14, 02:27PM

BiggerPockets Resources

Forums » Buying & Selling Real Estate » Realtor Won't Return my Earnest Money Deposit - EMD

Realtor Won't Return my Earnest Money Deposit - EMD

10 posts by 6 users


· Nevada

So, I wrote an offer for a house that didn't get accepted, I tried to contact my realtor several times, and she's just ignoring me.

The check was for $2000 and was made out to a title company. I guess I could pay my bank to cancel the check, but I rather not.

Is there anything else I could do?

Commercial Real Estate Broker · Canton, Georgia

Hi Bruce,

A few things to try:

1. Call the title company and ask where your earnest money deposit is and ask for it to be returned if they are holding it.

2. Call the REALTORS brokerage office and demand to speak with the head broker about where your earnest money check is and that it be returned.

3. If number 2 does not answer to your satisfaction then tell them you will be calling their state real estate commission about what happened with your earnest money.

If the REALTOR is holding your check or misplaced it they are not supposed to do that and it should be a real estate commission violation. Your purchase offer should explain who is holding the earnest money and under what conditions it will be returned to you and what type of account it is held in and whether that is interest bearing or not and who retains the interest on the money.

With future offers it would be better to put under the earnest money section (upon written acceptance) in the purchase and sale offer. This means unless the offer is accepted in writing you do not give the earnest money to be held. This way you do not have to give an earnest money check every time you submit an offer but only if you go under contract.

Hope it helps.

Small_allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 678-779-2798
Website: 678-779-2798 [email protected]

Real Estate Investor · Sacramento, California

And just to be safe I would cancel the check first

Property Manager · Orange, Texas


If your offer was not accepted, the title company would not have received your earnest money check. The title company only accepts earnest money for executed contracts (both party has a written and signed agreement to buy and sell). If your offer wasn't accepted then the check would probably be in the possession of the realtor or realtors office. I would call the broker of the firm to inquire about the check and let them know what the situation about reaching your realtor has been. In either case, I would go ahead and put a stop payment on the check after making sure it has not cleared your account.

As a side note, real estate contracts are (at least in Texas) promulgated by a broker lawyer committee and filled in by realtors. So, there may not be a place in the earnest money section to put restrictions on when or how it is to be used if it isn't already in the contract. Most realtors will try to negotiate a deal before providing the earnest money along with the contract, but in a multiple offer situation that may not be the case.

Contacting the real estate commission is always an option, but I would trying and communicate the situation to the broker (many times they don't know the situation) but will very quickly get your issue resolved.

Good luck,

· Nevada

Thanks you guys!
I *67 the realtor and she told me that it will be dropped off in the mail today. I will give her until Tuesday, if not I will go ahead and contact the broker.

The check is made out to Ticor Title with the address of the property I made the offer on. I'm assuming the only person that can cash it is the title co. I can't imagine them trying to cash it out.

Real Estate Investor · Central Valley, California

Unreturned calls about your check are not OK. Absolutely call the supervising broker. Have you tried both emailing and texting the agent? A lot of people have lost the ability to return calls (or never had it) but do respond to emails and texts because it's right in front of them.

I gotta say that agents not returning calls is working in my favor these days. Sellers are calling me after trying to find an agent to list their property but they aren't getting return calls. A lot of seniors don't have email and expect prompt return calls from business "professionals". Not sure why so many agents are screwing up on this.

Commercial Real Estate Broker · Canton, Georgia

Bruce ask the Realtor to send you a POF (proof of mailing) that it has been sent back.

Give written correspondence to the brokerage so that you have a document on file. Do not wait for Tuesday on this. You have a paper trial in case the Realtor does not do what they are saying they will do by the time they are saying it.

They can't just walk around with a check from you in their pocket and "get around sometime" to returning it to you. The state real estate commission will have rules and timelines on where the money is to be held and how fast it has to be returned or deposited in the held account.

Small_allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 678-779-2798
Website: 678-779-2798 [email protected]

· Hyattsville, Maryland

People! This is being way overblown for a piece of paper bearing your name on it. A simple stop order with your bank would have rendered this paper useless. You know the money hasn't left your bank account yet right? If you are having trust issues, communication issues or c)all of the above with your realtor, its time to dump them and find someone you are more comfortable with. After all, your realtor is supposed to be part of your "real estate team." I usually include a scan of the check with my offer as proof of EMD. If the offer gets accepted, my realtor gets the check immediately after and delivers it same or next day. Sometimes I even have them just rip up a check if an offer is not accepted. do what works for you....

Finally an anecdote: I put down a 4 digit EMD on a short sale last march. offer ratified, check deposited by title co. fast forward to closing time: Seller fled the country. takes me 10 months and countless visits to small claims court to get a court order to permit escrow/ title co. to release my EMD back to me. All because the sellers weren't around to sign a EMD release form. Just got a judgement last week (victory dance!) THAT is a real EMD predicament with real money being held up...

· Nevada

Just got my check back from my realtor, I just had to keep pressing her.

In the future, I will under the earnest money section "upon written acceptance". Thanks Joel!

Commercial Real Estate Broker · Canton, Georgia

No problem Bruce I am glad I could help. Hope you land a great deal soon!

Small_allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 678-779-2798
Website: 678-779-2798 [email protected]

Sign up