What is Earnest Money? Buyers typically give a deposit when they make an offer on a house. The money is provided to demonstrate that you are “earnest” or serious about buying their home. The amount of earnest money given usually depends on local custom, but a serious buyer might opt to give more to show commitment.
In most cases, the earnest money goes towards the eventual purchase of the house; however, there are two primary scenarios where you Buyers might have earnest money returned:
1. Rejected offer. If you make an offer to buy a house and the seller turns it down, they are required to give you the earnest money back; OR
2. Contingencies. When you make an offer to buy a house, the offer is usually contingent upon certain things, like a home inspection. If the inspection uncovers a serious flaw which is unacceptable, can’t be fixed, or the seller is unwilling to fix, you will also get your money returned.
To the contrary, if you back out of the Offer or Purchase and Sales for no good reason (ex. you decide you just don’t like the house or location), you might forfeit your earnest money. Like so many things in the law, we look at the return of earnest money on a case by case basis to determine what is right or just.
As always, please feel free to contact us with questions that you may have about this or any other legal issues.
What is your New Year’s resolution? Are you going to commit to working out more often? Spend more quality time with your family? Start saving money for retirement? Read one book per week?
If your 2018 goals include buying your first home, re-sizing, or refinancing, these should be your resolutions:
1. Find out your credit score and history;
2. Establish and maintain good credit practices (ie. pay your bills on time, monitor your credit report for fraud, close unused lines of credit);
3. Save a reasonable down payment for the house that you want to buy;
4. Find the right home buying team for you. Identify a realtor, lender, and attorney that work together often.* If the team know one another and work well together, the process will be so much easier and less stressful for you;
5. Get organized: gather pay stubs, federal and state tax documents, current photo identification, bank statements, as well as any divorce, bankruptcy, and investment property documents, if applicable;
6. Obtain a mortgage pre-approval; and
7. Be smart: do not make any large purchases or big changes to your finances.
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