Soldier to Soldier Hawaii

How much earnest money is enough when buying a home

Decoding Real Estate Jargon: A Closer Look at Earnest Money

In the exciting journey of buying a home, you’re likely to encounter various terms and concepts that might seem a bit confusing. One such term is “earnest money.” This article aims to demystify the concept of earnest money and explain its role in a real estate transaction.

###What is Earnest Money?

Earnest money, also known as a good faith deposit, is a sum of money that buyers provide when they make an offer on a property to show their serious intent to purchase. It’s a financial pledge that demonstrates the buyer’s commitment to complete the transaction.

###How Much Earnest Money is Required?

The amount of earnest money required can vary based on the real estate market, the price of the home, and local customs. Typically, it ranges from 1% to 5% of the purchase price of the home. However, in a highly competitive market, buyers may offer a higher earnest money deposit to make their offer more attractive.

###Where Does Earnest Money Go?

Once paid, earnest money is usually held in an escrow account until closing. It’s not given directly to the seller. At closing, the earnest money deposit is typically applied to the down payment or closing costs. If the sale doesn’t go through, the rules on whether the earnest money is refunded depend on the terms of the purchase agreement and the reason why the sale didn’t complete.

###What Happens if the Sale Doesn’t Go Through?

The fate of the earnest money if the sale doesn’t go through depends on the terms of the contract and why the deal fell through.

  1. With Contingencies: If the contract includes contingencies (such as financing, inspection, or appraisal), and these conditions aren’t met, the earnest money is typically returned to the buyer.
  2. Buyer Backs Out Without a Valid Reason: If the buyer decides not to proceed with the purchase without a valid reason as stipulated in the contract, the seller is usually entitled to keep the earnest money.
  3. Seller Backs Out: If the seller backs out of the deal, the earnest money is generally returned to the buyer. The buyer may also have legal claims against the seller.

###Key Takeaways

  1. Earnest Money Shows You’re Serious: Providing earnest money demonstrates to the seller that you’re a committed buyer, which can be especially important in competitive markets.
  2. Amount Can Vary: The amount you’ll need to provide for earnest money can vary, so it’s crucial to budget for this expense when planning to purchase a home.
  3. Review Your Contract Carefully: The terms of your purchase agreement dictate what happens to your earnest money, so it’s crucial to understand these details. An experienced real estate agent or attorney can help you navigate this.
  4. Secure Your Deposit: Make sure your earnest money is deposited into a secure escrow account, not directly to the seller or real estate agent.

Understanding the role of earnest money in a real estate transaction helps you navigate the home-buying process more smoothly and confidently. As always, seek advice from real estate professionals to ensure you fully understand your rights and responsibilities as a buyer

Celester Thomas

Company Blog – Soldier to Soldier Hawaii Realty

Apply for a loan