Once home buyers find a home they love, they declare their commitment to the seller with a sizable chunk of change known as an earnest money deposit. Yes, it sounds so sincere and serious because it is—and if you get it wrong, you could lose thousands of dollars. To scare you straight, here are eight mistakes with earnest money that home buyers often make. To ensure you don’t end up among them, read on to avoid these snafus.
How much earnest money is normal?
Before we get into the potential mistakes that home buyers often make when it comes to earnest money, it’s important to understand how much earnest money is normal, as well as typical earnest money percentages.
First, make sure you fully grasp what an earnest money deposit (EMD) is—namely, proof that a real estate buyer is earnest, or committed to completing a sale by having skin in the game. The amount of earnest money is negotiable between the buyer and seller, but is usually about 1% to 2% of the purchase price (although it can shoot up to 10%). This good-faith money is generally held by the real estate seller’s broker or in escrow by a title company, to be used as a credit toward the down payment and closing costs.