When it comes to the buying and selling of real estate, there is a lot of legal jargon that can be confusing, particularly when it comes to earnest money. Earnest money is a deposit that a buyer puts down on a property to show their good faith in the transaction and to signal that they are serious about making the purchase. But what happens to this money once it is put down, and who holds it?
The answer lies in the contract to buy and sell real estate. This legal document outlines all of the terms and conditions of the transaction, including the amount of earnest money that needs to be deposited. It also specifies who holds the money.
According to the contract, earnest money is held on behalf of the buyer. This means that the money is not owned by the seller or the real estate agent, but is instead held by a third party until the sale is finalized. The third party is usually a title company or an attorney, and they are responsible for holding the money in an escrow account until the sale is complete.
The purpose of holding the money in escrow is to protect both the buyer and the seller. If there are any disputes or issues during the transaction, the earnest money can be used to cover any damages or losses incurred by either party. If everything goes smoothly and the sale is completed, the earnest money is applied towards the purchase price of the property.
The amount of earnest money required can vary depending on the market and the specific terms of the contract. In some cases, it may be a small percentage of the purchase price, while in others it may be a larger amount. Generally, the earnest money is paid at the same time as the buyer signs the contract, and is due within a certain timeframe.
It`s important to note that the contract to buy and sell real estate is a legally binding document, and both parties are required to adhere to its terms. This means that if the buyer fails to complete the transaction for any reason other than those specified in the contract (such as a contingency not being met), they risk losing their earnest money.
In summary, earnest money is a deposit that a buyer puts down on a property to show their good faith in the transaction. According to the contract to buy and sell real estate, this money is held on behalf of the buyer by a third party, usually a title company or an attorney. The purpose of holding the money in escrow is to protect both the buyer and the seller, and to ensure that the transaction goes smoothly. By understanding the terms of the contract, buyers can feel confident in putting down earnest money and moving forward with a real estate transaction.