What’s Earnest Money

Earnest money shows you’re serious
earnest moneyTypically when an offer to purchase a house is made, you, as the buyer, will also pay an “earnest money” deposit. This deposit shows the seller that you’re serious about the offer to purchase the property. When preparing a contract for a buyer we include in the contract that once the offer is accepted by the seller then the escrow deposit will then be provided. This way your money is never held up in an escrow account if the offer is never even accepted.

The amount of earnest money deposit varies based on the type of property being purchased and local market conditions. As your real estate professionals, we’ll help you determine the appropriate amount to pay as an earnest money deposit.

The sales contract will dictate who holds the earnest money. Usually the buyer’s real estate agent will deposit the earnest money in a trust or escrow account until closing. At closing, the earnest money is applied to the purchase price.

In the event the transaction/sale doesn’t close, the sales agreement generally spells out the conditions under which you would forfeit the earnest money. Generally if the seller meets all the terms of the contract, the seller will keep the earnest money. If the seller does not meet the terms of the contract, you, as the buyer, may receive a total or partial refund of the earnest money.

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Brevard MLS data last updated at September 29, 2014 10:32 PM ET