Serious Home Buyers Should Know
Earnest money is a deposit towards the purchase of real estate from a buyer to show the seller they are serious about wanting to purchase the home and will hold up their end of the purchase agreement.
When paying earnest money do not pay with cash. Your lender will need to verify the earnest money. The best way is to pay via personal check. Your lender will need a copy of the front of the check & of the back once it clears your bank. In addition, some lenders may require a statement from your account from the date the check cleared going back 30 or 60 days. You can also pay via money order or bank check, however, you will need to provide a 30 or 60 day transaction statement showing the money came out of your account. In addition any deposits listed on that account will need to be sourced and explained. Deposits from payroll, taxes, bill of sale items etc are acceptable. Lenders do not want to see cash deposits. If you pay via cash or your lender is unable to verify the earnest money came from you as earned income or seasoned money they will not be allowed to use it as a credit on the Closing Disclosure Statement and an amendment to the offer will need to be drawn up removing earnest money from the offer to purchase.
How Much Earnest Money is Needed?
The amount of earnest money will vary depending on the market. Usually the amount is set at 1 - 3% of the homes purchase price but this all depends on the seller. As the buyer, you should always try for the smallest amount of money possible, in case you need to back out of the contract. Make sure you are working with an experienced real estate agent who can help guide you throughout the buying process and make an appropriate estimate for how much earnest money is enough.
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