DEAR BENNY: I had a few acres of rural property that I put on the market. I received an acceptable offer along with a deposit. Before the closing, the buyer withdrew the offer for a reason that was not listed on the contract. The buyer's Realtor requested the deposit back, and my Realtor told me it wouldn't be worth fighting, so I followed her advice. Later, I received another acceptable offer, but the same thing happened, as the buyer withdrew for a lame reason. Again the listing had been removed, and the deposit was returned. I thought that a contract was legally binding, and that if a buyer withdraws an offer for a reason not specified on the contract, he or she will lose the deposit. Am I wrong in my thinking? If not, what can I do to make sure this doesn't happen again? --Paul DEAR PAUL: In order to have a valid and binding legal contract, three elements are required: (1) an offer, (2) acceptance of that offer, and (3) consideration. Usually, the earnest money deposit...
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