What Is an Escrow Deposit?

An escrow or earnest money deposit is the norm when making an offer on a house. But many buyers ask me, how much should it be for, and who should hold the money? Here is what you need to know. 

The escrow amount should be specified in your offer on a house to show the seller that you are serious about purchasing the home. Once the offer is accepted you must deposit the money within the timeframe specified in the contract, usually 3 days after accepted.

The escrow deposit is held by a third party, usually a title company, and it becomes part of the down payment, or is forfeited if you pull out of the deal for reasons other than those stipulated in the offer. A financing contingency is an example of the latter. If your offer was contingent on getting a loan, and you can't, you can cancel the contract and get your earnest money deposit back.

 

How Much Should You Deposit? 

The size of the escrow deposit is up to you. Real estate agents will sometimes tell you it is this or that amount, or this or that percentage of the offering price. In reality, you can write the offer with a one dollar deposit if you wish, and the agent still has to present the offer.

Naturally, an offer with one dollar of earnest money may not be taken seriously, and the listing agent may even persuade the seller to reject your offer. It is a good idea to ask what the local norm is.

 

Who Gets the Earnest Money Deposit?

Never give your earnest money check to the seller. The last thing you want is a seller trying to keep your money after you pull out of a deal because of financing problems, termite infestations or other valid contingencies in your offer. In Central Florida, escrow deposit is usually deposit to a title company chosen by the seller who acts as an intermediary. In any case, always give your deposit to a third party to hold. 

 

How Your Realtor May Protect You?

Things can happen, right? If you pull out of the deal for some unforeseen reason, not included in the contract, you'll lose your deposit. However, the seller could also sue you for additional damages or even force you to buy the home. In order to protect you, your Realtor will add contingencies in the contract indicating a period of time for home inspection and loan approval, in which you can pull out of the contract if you can’t get a loan or if you find unexpected defects in the property.

 

957 Properties Found. Showing 1-12
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201 Coral Reef Circle
Kissimmee, FL 34743
201 Coral Reef Circle Kissimmee, FL 34743
1 of 16
$174,000
Subdivision: Buenaventura Lakes Unit 10 Add 02
BEDS
2
BATHS
2
SQ.FT.
1,108
BUILT
1989
ON SITE
1Day
MLS
O5758222
Centrally located oversized 2 Master BR / 2 Bath single family home has a nice open floor-plan with eating space in kitchen and vaulted ceiling, screened in Pool and FENCED BACKYARD. The open floor...
7763 Barberry Dr.
Orlando, FL 32835
7763 Barberry Dr. Orlando, FL 32835
 
$210,000
Subdivision: Raintree Place
BEDS
3
BATHS
2
SQ.FT.
1,248
BUILT
1986
ON SITE
1Day
MLS
O5757717
GREAT INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY!! Tenant wants to stay! This 3/2 is in a great location in a quiet neighborhood. Kitchen w/breakfast nook, family room, spacious master, large screened enclosure & huge...
10114 Lichen Court
Orlando, FL 32817
10114 Lichen Court Orlando, FL 32817
1 of 19
$220,000
Subdivision: Arbor Ridge Unit 3
BEDS
3
BATHS
2
SQ.FT.
1,085
BUILT
1978
ON SITE
1Day
MLS
O5758100
Perfect starter home ,Three bedroom two bath split plan , two car garage .Located on a cul de sac . Fenced in yard with access to detached structure in back yard with additional parking pad or...
5868 Lakeville Road
Orlando, FL 32818
5868 Lakeville Road Orlando, FL 32818
1 of 23
$750,000
Subdivision: Acreage
BEDS
6
BATHS
4
SQ.FT.
4,026
BUILT
2002
ON SITE
1Day
MLS
O5757404
A very unique property in Orlando, 2+ acres , with 2 homes, The main custom built home offers 4 bedrooms and 3 baths with a bonus room in a split bedroom plan. Upgraded wood cabinets in the with...
4670 Caverns Drive
Kissimmee, FL 34758
4670 Caverns Drive Kissimmee, FL 34758
1 of 28
$230,000
Subdivision: Hammock Trails
BEDS
4
BATHS
3
SQ.FT.
2,805
BUILT
2007
ON SITE
1Day
MLS
S5007424
Back on the market!! - this is your opportunity to get this amazing home. Best Buy In Town!!! Fabulous home in the desirable community of Hammock Trails. Spacious home has 4 bedrooms and 2.5...
10226 Vickers Ridge Drive
Orlando, FL 32829
10226 Vickers Ridge Drive Orlando, FL 32829
1 of 27
$209,000
Subdivision: Lee Vista Square E
BEDS
3
BATHS
3
SQ.FT.
1,385
BUILT
2007
ON SITE
1Day
MLS
O5757809
Fantastic 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath Townhouse in South Orlando will not wait long for a new owner!!! Sit on your front porch with your morning beverage gazing at the adjacent beautiful pond or on your...
4808 Northern Dancer Way
Orlando, FL 32826
Open House
4808 Northern Dancer Way Orlando, FL 32826
1 of 15
$255,000
Subdivision: Rybolt Reserve Ph 1
BEDS
3
BATHS
2
SQ.FT.
1,571
BUILT
2003
ON SITE
1Day
MLS
O5758227
GATED COMMUNITY! This Waterfront 3 Bedroom / 2 Bath home located in Rybolt's Reserve offers complete peace of mind and serenity. It's spacious floor plan offers a large family room, separate living...
5141 Glasgow Avenue
Orlando, FL 32819
5141 Glasgow Avenue Orlando, FL 32819
1 of 25
$299,999
Subdivision: Lake Marsha Highlands Add 02
BEDS
4
BATHS
2
SQ.FT.
1,881
BUILT
1971
ON SITE
1Day
MLS
O5758230
PRICE IMPROVEMENT! Great opportunity on the newly renovated 4-bedroom 2 bath 1881 square foot home in Dr. Phillips. Property sits on a large corner lot in Lake Marsha Highlands community moments from...
220 Fiesta Drive
Kissimmee, FL 34743
220 Fiesta Drive Kissimmee, FL 34743
1 of 11
$220,000
Subdivision: Buenaventura Lakes Unit 03
BEDS
4
BATHS
2
SQ.FT.
1,390
BUILT
1980
ON SITE
1Day
MLS
O5756417
OPEN HOUSE 1/20 /19 FROM 11:00 am to 3:00 pm Better than new. Beautiful 4 bedrooms 2 bath on a larger corner lot. New Air Conditioner, New Roof, New Fence. New Garage Opener, New french doors from...
4438 Atwood Drive
Orlando, FL 32828
4438 Atwood Drive Orlando, FL 32828
1 of 34
$490,000
Subdivision: Avalon Park South Village
BEDS
5
BATHS
4
SQ.FT.
3,793
BUILT
2006
ON SITE
1Day
MLS
O5758004
Fabulous 5/4, (3 Mstrs/Media Room), Orleans Model, Over 1/4 Acre on Conservation in the Sought after Avalon Park South Village. Conservation Views from 2nd Mstr, Family Room, Dinette Area & Kitchen....
5407 E Scarington Court
Orlando, FL 32821
5407 E Scarington Court Orlando, FL 32821
1 of 21
$269,900
Subdivision: Somerset Village
BEDS
3
BATHS
2
SQ.FT.
1,260
BUILT
1988
ON SITE
1Day
MLS
U8031269
Move right in to this 3/2/2 House on a cul-de-sac, with a very quite neighborhood and great neighbors. conveniently located Williamsburg community with easy access to Toll Road 528. It has 3...
8762 Harbor View Drive
Orlando, FL 32817
Open House
8762 Harbor View Drive Orlando, FL 32817
1 of 24
$589,000
Subdivision: Woodside Village
BEDS
4
BATHS
4
SQ.FT.
3,503
BUILT
1984
ON SITE
1Day
MLS
O5758081
Gorgeous home completely and beautifully remodeled. Ideal open floor plan, combines immense kitchen, dining, and family room all with stunning hard wood floors, stone fireplace, and tranquil views of...

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