Buckeye couple lose $1,200 earnest money

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

BUCKEYE, Ariz. -- Kenneth and Debra Swanson rent a Buckeye home. For now, they say renting is temporary, but the rental house suits their needs.

They say the rental is a lot different from the home they owned but sold last year.

"So, we short sold the house to an investment company and here we are in a rental," Ken said.

The Swansons say their rental is fine, but they want to own again because they have animals.

The good news, they say, is despite going through a short sale, they were told they still qualified to buy because they were current on their old house payments.

The Swansons say they were told, "You're current on your payments and you should qualify for an FHA loan."

After looking around, the Swansons found a house for sale in Tonopah, which they say was perfect for them and their animals.

The Swansons say things were going great. In fact, they put an offer in on that Tonopah house and wound up handing over $1,200 in earnest money to the title company.  However, after they did, they got bad news.

The Swansons claim they were told they really didn't qualify for a mortgage after all, meaning they wouldn't be able to buy that Tonopah home.

To add to their disappointment, Security Title, the title company, awarded the $1,200 earnest money to the seller, not the Swansons.

Debra says she and her husband could really use that money.

"He works on commission so if he happens to have a short month, that's a month's rent. It's money we would need to fall back on," she said.

An attorney representing Security Title tells 3 On Your Side that, "Our decision to award the earnest money to the seller was in strict conformance with the contract."

The title company claims the Swansons' denial letter and other important documents were submitted well after crucial deadlines had passed, causing the Swansons to forfeit the earnest money.

The Swansons, however, strongly disagree, claiming thier documents suggest otherwise.

The Swansons claim they will keep fighting to get their money back.

"It's just one thing after another, so it's money that we need in our pocket," Debra said.

For now, that $1,200 is gone.

However, they believe some of the realtors involved may be to blame for this mess and they plan on filing a complaint with the Arizona Department of Real Estate.