• HOME
  • BLOG

(813) 928-9610

(813) 928-9610

Derek Bissen, August 25 2021

What is an Earnest Money Deposit?

An earnest money deposit is a check or a wire transfer that you put in with your real estate offer to let the seller of the home you're looking to buy know that your offer is serious. 

It's a check or sometimes a wire that is sent to the title company, not your lender, but through the title company in the transaction.

The title company holds on to those funds throughout the transaction, and on the day of closing, it's released to the buyer.

It might help to think of an Earnest Money Deposit sort of like a "down payment on your down payment and closing costs." 

The earnest money is subject to the terms of your real estate transaction. 

Every real estate contract is unique; however here in the state of Florida, the standard Florida Bar Contract (sometimes referred to as the "FARBAR" Contract) basically makes the provision that if both parties uphold the terms of the real estate contract, then the money will be there for the buyer at the closing, as intended.  

Some of the common questions about earnest money are: 

Is the earnest money deposit ever at risk?  Can I lose my deposit money?

Here are some helpful rules of thumb: 

Again, if both parties honor the agreement, those funds are kept safely with the title company and are available to the buyer on the day of closing to use for their down payment and closing costs. 

Documenting the Earnest Money Deposit for the Lender

If you're applying for a home loan, your lender is going to require documentation of these funds.  Federal law requires that lenders track all of the buyers' funds in a real estate transaction.  This is done for several reasons, but two of the biggest reasons are to A) make sure that there are no unknown borrowers in the transaction, and B) to prevent money laundering.  

Typically, most lenders will require the back/front copy of the earnest money check after it's cleared your bank account, along with a bank statements showing the funds being withdrawn from the borrower's account balance.

So be sure to ask your loan originator or loan processor for any specific details.

If you’re looking at buying a home in the Greater Tampa Bay area, it’s surrounding communities…or anywhere in Florida, we’d love to help! ​ 

You can reach us HERE.  

Written by

Derek Bissen

Previous Meet the 10 Parties Involved in Most Real Estate Transactions
Next ​Maximize your Cash Out Refinance with a COMBO Loan