3 seller responses to canceled home purchase

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Q: What is the best route to go if the buyers lose their jobs prior to closing and cannot qualify for the mortgage? The people who were planning to buy our home put down a substantial amount of earnest money, and also began maintaining our yard. They spent $2,500 to clear trees downed by Hurricane Irene. Then, they backed out of the deal three days before closing!

We don’t feel obligated to return any of that money. What rights do we have? –Mary, North Carolina