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Friday, January 29, 2010

Your Earnest Money and Contingencies

By Tara Millar

Many home buyers know that they need to have some money to put down on a home but don't seem to be sure how it factors in to that equation. To help you understand how it will be used in your transaction, in all probability, I have answered a number of the foremost commonly asked questions I've received from buyers.

Is it immediately cashed?

That actually depends on the contract and the directions it gives for a way your earnest cash is to be handled. Ideally your real estate broker should cash your earnest cash check immediately to make sure the interest of all parties is treated fairly. Some states permit a buyers broker to hold the check until the deal is accepted. This offers the clients a few additional days to iron out the source of the earnest money if they do not have that taken care of already.

What happens to it if I don't buy a house?

This all depends on how so far along you are within the transaction. If all of the contingencies are satisfied and you decide you do not want to buy the house, then you ought to forfeit it. However, if you're in the inspection stage or at any different point of contingency within the transaction and, for what ever reason, you choose not to buy the home, you ought to expect it to be released back to you.

Does my it go toward my down payment on my house?

You'll be able to have it go toward any fees in the transaction, including closing costs or a down payment on your principle. Normally it goes toward a partial payment of your buyers agent fees, if your broker holds your earnest cash check, in most states. Currently, if the transaction falls apart, part of that earnest cash may go to the seller, the sellers broker or your real estate broker, and you will see none of it.

Is there any method I can get it back?

Yes, you'll be able to have it refunded to you at the closing. You can additionally choose to possess it to pay for any other specific or general fee within the transaction.

Can it be used to pay other fees?

Most sensible real estate brokers can collect your earnest money right up front and might even insist it is considered a "retainer" if you choose not to purchase a house after they spent a specified amount of their time with you. You'll be asked to place down your earnest money before you even see a single home. This money is used for earnest money if you close on a home, but might even be used as a retainer fee for the broker or the real estate agent, if you select not to buy a home once getting some of their time. Either method, your earnest money serves its purpose of paying for your home purchase or paying for your real estate services.

Keep in mind that some of these laws and laws that govern real estate transactions in general do differ state by state, therefore make sure to talk over with a skilled realtor to determine specifically what happens in your state with your earnest money. - 23212

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