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.

 

1618 Properties Found. Showing 1-12
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421 Ruth Street
Longwood, FL 32779
421 Ruth Street Longwood, FL 32779
1 of 11
$336,550
Subdivision: West Brantley Lake Road Heights
BEDS
4
BATHS
3
SQ.FT.
2,608
BUILT
1965
ON SITE
1Day
MLS
O5785795
Investment opportunity available. This ranch home offers 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, great room and living room with fireplace, separate dining room, tile and wood laminate flooring, screen patio and...
1207 Royal Saint George Dr
Orlando, FL 32828
Open House
1207 Royal Saint George Dr Orlando, FL 32828
1 of 21
$315,000
Subdivision: Kensington At Eastwood
BEDS
4
BATHS
3
SQ.FT.
2,550
BUILT
1999
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O5785648
4 bedroom 3 full bathroom home with 2550 square feet of living space in the gated golf course community of The Preserve at Eastwood. New Roof 2015, New AC 2018. The home faces conservation space...
6636 Hiawassee Meadows Drive
Orlando, FL 32818
6636 Hiawassee Meadows Drive Orlando, FL 32818
1 of 24
$210,000
Subdivision: Hiawassee Meadows Ph 01
BEDS
3
BATHS
2
SQ.FT.
1,235
BUILT
1987
ON SITE
1Day
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O5785798
Move in ready! This fantastic tastefully remodeled home is ready to be yours. Located in the quiet community of Hiawassee Meadows, it is close enough to anything you could ever want, and still...
915 Windway Circle
Kissimmee, FL 34744
915 Windway Circle Kissimmee, FL 34744
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$215,999
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BEDS
3
BATHS
2
SQ.FT.
1,744
BUILT
1987
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1Day
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O5783827
Come see this oversized lot home located within minutes of shopping, airport, and businesses. The home is tiled throughout the whole home and its in the process of having a NEW ROOF install. The home...
8118 Castinango Street
Orlando, FL 32817
8118 Castinango Street Orlando, FL 32817
1 of 17
$189,900
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BEDS
3
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1
SQ.FT.
1,205
BUILT
1960
ON SITE
1Day
MLS
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This move-in ready home features 3 bedrooms, 1 full bath and has been beautifully renovated! New luxury vinyl plank has been run throughout the home. The kitchen has plenty of storage finished with...
3203 Queen Alexandria Drive
Kissimmee, FL 34744
3203 Queen Alexandria Drive Kissimmee, FL 34744
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$259,900
Subdivision: Raintree Ph 02
BEDS
3
BATHS
2
SQ.FT.
1,799
BUILT
2011
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1Day
MLS
S5018203
Your Family is all that's needed to fill this home which has three bedrooms and two baths, a double garage which is fenced on an oversized lot. Enjoy this property in a gated community with two...
2101 Pekoe Court
Clermont, FL 34714
2101 Pekoe Court Clermont, FL 34714
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$290,000
Subdivision: Greater Groves Ph 08
BEDS
4
BATHS
3
SQ.FT.
2,023
BUILT
2000
ON SITE
1Day
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O5785797
Very nice home located at the end of the street, back yard is enclosed by bushes and very private. The inside has been well maintained and is offered fully furnished. Currently being used as a...
3648 Seneca Club Loop #45
Orlando, FL 32808
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$160,000
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2
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2
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1,147
BUILT
2017
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Whether you are a first-time home buyer or looking for an investment property your search stops here. This immaculate property was recently built by DR Horton and its nestled in the heart of Orlando....
922 Orchid Drive
Davenport, FL 33897
922 Orchid Drive Davenport, FL 33897
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BEDS
4
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3
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1,748
BUILT
2003
ON SITE
1Day
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S5014974
AS IS!!!This townhouse of 4/3 would be ideal as a primary residence or investment. Community is conveniently located 15 minutes from Disney parks. Buyer responsible for $5000 HOA one-time capital...
1621 Grand Oak
Apopka, FL 32703
1621 Grand Oak Apopka, FL 32703
 
$394,900
Subdivision: Sheeler Oaks Ph 1
BEDS
4
BATHS
2
SQ.FT.
2,450
BUILT
1985
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O5785701
An absolute stunner! Completely renovated 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home. Come home to this bright, sunny and welcoming home. A Formal dining area and living room, a family room with fireplace PLUS a...
000 Confidential Ave.
Winter Garden, FL 34787
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3
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1,347
BUILT
2004
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125 Secluded Oak Court Davenport, FL 33896
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4
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3
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1,865
BUILT
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This affordable home has a POOL & SPA! The open floor plan is perfect for both entertaining & everyday living. The kitchen has plenty of storage and work space too! French doors will take you from...

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