Everything You Need To Know About Earnest Money

Oct 22, 2023 By Triston Martin

Before purchasing a house, your financial priorities should include accumulating enough funds for a down payment, being pre-approved for a loan, and calculating your expected monthly mortgage payment, among other things. Nonetheless, don't forget to budget for another, less-publicized expense: earnest money. The deposit needed for practically every property purchase is intended to communicate the buyer's purpose, or good faith, in purchasing the home. A deposit of earnest money is made when the seller accepts a buyer's purchase offer, and it is referred to as an earnest money deposit. In the absence of prior planning, this might come as a surprise, particularly if the down payment on your new house is contingent on the sale of your present dwelling. So, exactly what is earnest money, find in this guide.



Earnest Money: What You Should Know


Most of the time, the earnest money is provided when the sales contract or purchase agreement is signed, although it may also be connected to the offer in certain instances. The funds are normally kept in an escrow account upon being placed until the transaction is completed. At this point, the deposit is allocated against the buyer's down payment and closing fees. One agreement between two parties is formed when an individual wishes to acquire a house from another individual. As a result, the buyer is not required to acquire the home based on the contract since the home assessment and inspection results may subsequently disclose faults with the property. On the other hand, the contract requires that the seller remove the home from the market while it is being examined and evaluated. The buyer gives an earnest money deposit to demonstrate that the buyer's offer to acquire the property is made in good faith.


If something goes wrong with the purchase specified in advance in the contract, the buyer may get his or her earnest money deposit back. For example: if the home does not appraise for the sales price or a severe flaw discovered during an inspection, your earnest money will be refunded to you, providing that these contingencies are included in the contract.


Earnest money, on the other hand, is not usually refundable. For example, if the buyer chooses not to proceed with the property purchase due to a contingency that was not specified in the contract or if the buyer fails to satisfy the timetable set in the contract, the seller retains the earnest money. Buyers who change their minds and decide not to purchase a home lose their earnest money deposit in certain circumstances.


Some sellers prefer a specific sum, such as $5,000 or $10,000, as an earnest money deposit rather than a percentage of the sales price, which is often used. To be sure, the bigger the amount of earnest money requested, the more serious the seller is likely to take the buyer's offer. Consequently, a buyer's earnest deposit should be big enough to be accepted but not so high that it puts more money in danger of being forfeited.


When Does The Seller Have The Right To Retain Earnest Money?


You may forfeit your earnest money if you violate the conditions of the purchase agreement, such as failing to meet contractual deadlines or choosing not to purchase the house because you have found a more suitable alternative to your current residence. Before you sign anything, have your real estate agent take you through the whole purchase deal. Make certain that you understand your end of the deal and the conditions under which you would retain or lose the earnest money before proceeding.


The Significance of Earnest Money


In most circumstances, sellers will need a good faith deposit as a form of payment. It protects both the seller's objectives and the buyer's objectives. It demonstrates to the seller that you are serious about purchasing the property, which might be comforting to them if they decide to take the house off the market while awaiting the appraisal and home inspection findings. When purchasing a home in great demand, a substantial deposit might persuade the seller to accept your offer above other competing offers. Additionally, you may be able to negotiate more advantageous contract conditions.



Is The Earnest Money Refundable In Any Circumstances?


"Earnest money is refundable under specific situations, which vary depending on how the contract is drafted. The majority of contingencies in the contract — such as the inspection or due diligence phase, the financing contingency, and the appraisal contingency — are designed to safeguard the buyer's earnest money." For example, if your purchase agreement falls through owing to problems with the house inspection, you will get a refund of your earnest money.

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