Thursday, September 6, 2012

First Time Homebuyer’s Word of the Day is Earnest Money


In an episode of Cash Cab, a television quiz show that takes place in the back seat of a New York City taxicab, a family was stumped by the acronym, FSBO. This is a often term used in real estate to describe a person selling their home by owner (For Sale By Owner). As a REALTOR® I was a bit surprised that such a simple term I use everyday would be unknown to so many. But then it got me thinking of all the times a glazed look came over a buyer’s eyes when I talked about escrow or earnest money. These can easily be confused with other real estate and mortgage terms like down payment or cash to close. It is totally understandable because most homebuyers do not buy houses everyday.

There are so many terms that could possibly confuse a First Time Homebuyer that I thought an online glossary of real estate terms might be helpful. So I have an ongoing series of posts for the first time homebuyer with explanations of the most often used (and sometimes confusing) real estate terms. This way you can skip buying that big “how to buy a house” book or attending that
First Time Homebuyer Class and have a quick resource at your fingertips. Today’s Real Estate Term is:

Earnest money The funds that a buyer submits with their offer or purchase agreement to demonstrate to the seller their seriousness about buying the property. It should be an amount sufficient enough to indicate to the seller that the buyer will not walk away from the deal without good reason. It is not the same as a down payment. If your offer on the home is accepted, the earnest money check will be cashed and placed into a broker’s trust account. The funds will go toward the purchase price of the home.



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