Buying or Selling a Home

The Purchase Contract

What is "earnest money"?

When the buyer signs the offer to purchase, the buyer usually deposits a sum of money with the seller, the seller's real estate agent, or the seller's attorney. Your offer should specify that the earnest money deposit will be placed in an interest bearing account with the interest credited to the buyer.

Earnest money is not the same thing as the buyer's down payment although, if the sale goes through, it will be applied to the down payment. Earnest money symbolizes the buyer's commitment to take the necessary steps to complete the purchase, for example obtaining a loan. Thus, if a prospective buyer does little or nothing to complete the sale, he or she risks losing the earnest money deposit.

>>What is an offer to purchase?
>>What might I include in my offer to purchase a home?
>>What is earnest money?
>>How is the offer negotiated?
>>How does an offer relate to the purchase contract?
>>Can oral promises constitute a contract?
>>When should we involve a lawyer?
>>What are the key provisions of the purchase contract?
>>What is an inspection rider?
>>What is an attorney-approval rider?
>>What is a mortgage-contingency rider?
>>May the seller refuse a mortgage-contingency rider or an inspection-contingency rider?
>>What happens to my earnest money deposit if we do not complete the sale?
>>Can a buyer sue a seller for backing out of the contract?
>>Are there any special considerations when you are buying a home from a builder?


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*The Purchase Contract* | Financing a Home Purchase | The Closing | The Fair Housing Act
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