When you’re buying a house, you make an offer on it—and at the same time, you give the seller an earnest money deposit. (Earnest money is also sometimes called a “good faith” deposit, because it shows the seller you’re a serious buyer who’s willing to put out his or her own money to seal the deal.)
Who Gets Your Earnest Money Deposit?
You don’t actually give your earnest money directly to the seller. In fact, you should never, ever do that. Instead, you’ll give your agent a cashier’s check, money order, or certified check; your Realtor® will put it in escrow until the deal closes.
What Happens to Your Earnest Money When You Close?
Your earnest money deposit is usually used to pay for closing costs (or at least part of them) on closing day.
How Much Should Your Earnest Money Deposit Be?
There’s no set amount you must put down as an earnest money deposit. Instead, it’s a good idea to talk to your Realtor. It could range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand—and a lot of that depends on the property itself, how competitive the market is, and whether you really want to “wow” the seller.
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