Today’s blog is short but sweet. But since I get asked this question a lot, I thought that I’d address it.
Perhaps it is best to first answer the question, what is earnest money (EMD for short)? Earnest money deposit comes up in Paragraph 3A in the offer. It’s the first item in financing the property, right after purchase price. EMD can be anywhere from 1 – 3% of the purchase price.
The standard in most areas is 3%. Why?
Take a look at Paragraph 21B. REMEDIES FOR BUYER’S BREACH OF CONTRACT: LIQUIDATED DAMAGES. Liquidated damages for breach of contract are set at 3%. By voluntarily putting 3% up for the earnest money deposit, the buyer is showing that they are serious about following through with the contract and will not back out at the least minute.
If you are a buyer, one thing to keep in mind is that the sellers are very often as nervous as you are. They want to sell their home and – presumably – if you’re in contract they want to sell their home to home. However, sellers are as concerned about you backing out as you are about finding something wrong with the property.
That’s why it’s really important to start planning. While there is some creative financing, in a competitive market like the one we are in now, seller’s are wary of buyers coming in with 0$ down and asking for a credit for closing costs. It does happen and offers like this can be successful; however, why not put yourself in the best possible position to have your offer accepted in this real estate game?