Home Purchase Deposit

(WSVN) - It’s called the American dream for a reason. Owning your own home is such a great thing, but to get a place, you have to put down a deposit. And if the deal falls through, do you get that hard earned money back? When one man couldn’t, he reached out to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Albert wanted to buy a condo to be near his family. And then he stopped in at a place called the Gardens of Kendall South.

Albert Telleria, wants deposit back: “Loved the community. I had seen the apartment; I was ready to move in. I immediately signed a contract.”

The seller wanted a $5,100 deposit. Albert wrote the check. It would be the last time he would smile about the deal.

Albert Telleria: “Yes, I was actually bummed down. It was a big disappointment.”

The first problem? The bank appraisal came in $15,000 lower than the seller wanted. When she refused to lower the price, the deal fell apart.

Albert Telleria: “The owner of the apartments is an elderly lady, and she is represented by her son, Sina, which is an attorney.”

The news got worse for Albert. The seller and her son who represented her would not return Albert’s $5,100 deposit.

Albert Telleria: “This lady was nowhere to be found. I’ve been to the office of the son’s lawyer. The office was locked.”

Howard, you have read the real estate contract. Does the seller have to return Albert’s deposit?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Yes they do. There is a clause in this contract that says the property has to appraise high enough to get a bank loan. This condo did not, meaning the seller has to return Albert’s money.”

Albert then filed a lawsuit to get his money back.

At the same time, we asked Taylor Wasser, a private investigator, to start looking for the seller to serve her notice that Albert was suing.

Albert Telleria: “I’ve spent a lot of money.”

But then we discovered the seller’s son had gone to court and got Albert’s lawsuit dismissed, meaning his mother could keep the $5,100 deposit and Albert had to pay the legal fees for the seller’s son.

Albert Telleria: “We all work very hard for our money and I just feel disgusted.”

David Strauss, attorney at the Strauss Law Firm: “Albert had not been give notice of that hearing.”

But we don’t give up that easily, so we asked David Strauss to represent Albert.

David Strauss: “If you don’t have a lawyer in litigation, there are so many things that can go wrong.”

Strauss went to court to ask a judge to reopen the case to get Albert’s $5,100 back.

Sina Negahbani, representing seller: “This is unreasonable.”

Sina Negahbani, the attorney representing his mother the seller, didn’t seem happy to see Channel 7 in the courtroom.

Sina Negahbani: “I request next time if I have this hearing and they want to have media, please let us know. I will wear my better suit, your honor.”

Negabani also wanted to know who told Albert that Negabani had gotten his attempt to get his deposit back thrown out of court.

Albert Telleria: “Through Channel 7, Help Me Howard.”

When David Strauss explained what had happened in the case, the judge re-opened it so Albert can come back to court to try to get his money back.

David Strauss: “If we don’t settle, I’m very confident that Albert is going to get his money back, court cost and attorney’s fees.”

That’s good news for Albert. Even better? When the deal for his condo fell through, he found a bigger condo in the same complex. That was a smooth deal and he is now a happy homeowner.

Albert Telleria: “We did a whole month of remodeling, obviously. Every time you walk in, it smells like brand new wood, paint, definitely.”

Glad Albert called us. And even more good news for him is if he wins, the seller has to pay Albert’s attorney’s fees, plus any expenses Albert incurred, plus his $5,100 deposit. That’s why it’s sometimes better to hire an attorney when it gets complicated in court because if you win, the loser has to pay your attorney.

We will let you know what happens when David Strauss and Albert get back in court.

Bought a problem you would love to sell? Ready to court a solution? Deposit it with us. We have the perfect attorney. No, he’s not a genius. Howard’s free.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
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