Earnest Money Deposit Explained

An earnest money deposit is paid in the form of a check to the seller and is accompanied by the offer to purchase a piece of property. Its purpose is to demonstrate good faith that the buyer is willing to make an immediate investment, which is often referred to as, good faith. Often, the agent will deliver a copy of the check to the seller and hold onto the original until the seller agrees to the terms of the agreement offered. Then the check is released to escrow.

The earnest money deposit is often used as part of the down payment. For example: Let’s say that you are buying a house for $100,000 and you have an FHA loan. Your deposit will most likely be $1,000, which is 1% of the purchase price of the property and it will go toward your total FHA loan, which is 3.5%, or $3,500. So you can take the required $3,500 down payment and subtract the deposit you’ve already given when you submitted the offer and now only owe $2,500, which is the difference.

Whenever you meet up with a real estate agent, it’s always a wise idea to bring at least one check with you. Even though checks are starting to become an obsolete way of transferring funds, they are still widely used in real estate for proof of the initial deposit. If you do not have checks, you may be able to obtain some by contacting your bank in a short period of time. The sooner you do so, the better.

The earnest money deposit, for the most part, seems to hold a more symbolic gesture of good faith than the actual necessity of the payment. However, should you open up an escrow and then back out without a justifiable excuse, your earnest money deposit will be lost. Before you go into escrow on a house, or even put in an offer for that matter, be sure that you will be happy with that particular home before you open escrow and realize you may have made a mistake.