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Frequently asked questions

What is earnest money in real estate?

Earnest money (also known as a good faith deposit) is money that the buyer gives the seller when a sales contract is drawn to show intent to purchase. The money is deposited into a third-party account, known as escrow, and held until closing. Once contracts are signed, the earnest money becomes part of the down payment. If the contract falls through, the earnest money is either forfeited and the seller keeps it or the money has to be returned to the buyer, dependent on the contract.