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Home Buying: Deliver Your Earnest Money Check

Posted by Sarah Steen on November 7, 2019
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picture of person writing a check with "earnest check" caption

Congratulations: you are under contract!

Within 24 hours, you will receive an email from our transaction coordinator with detailed information about the next step: delivering your earnest money.

Download the Home Buying Guide

Dropping off a personal check for earnest money

The seller chooses which earnest money holder they use. Usually it is a title company that is also the closing entity, but I’ve also seen real estate brokerages  holding earnest money more and more often.

Please follow the instructions for filling out the check in the email from my transaction coordinator. Alternatively, you can pull up your contract and see who the earnest money holder is under Section 4.

Most importantly, in the “note” section at the bottom left corner of the check, write “Earnest Money” or “EM”  and the address of the property you are buying.  Please get at least a copy of your check (dated and with a signature of who received it) when you drop off your check. Send me or the transaction coordinator a screen shot of the receipt for our records. You will also receive a copy that was sent directly from the earnest money holder.

Related Reading: Steps to Buy a Home

Overnight a personal check

In order to comply with the contract deadlines, I recommend that you overnight your check with signature confirmation to the earnest money holder if you are not in town. Please send our transaction coordinator a copy (PDF or screenshot) of your overnight receipt and numbers. She can then forward the information to the earnest money holder so they know the check is on the way.

The check is copied and a receipt is issued for our files when the envelope arrives at the earnest money holder.  The check is then assigned to the property (this is why you’ll need the address on it) and finally deposited into the earnest money holder’s trust or escrow account. You will receive a copy of the receipt for your records via email. There could be a delay of the check assignment to the property if a real estate brokerage holds your earnest money. Unfortunately,  they are usually not set up very well for this responsibility. Our transaction coordinator will touch base with the brokerage to make sure that the check was received and a receipt is sent out. Should you not receive it, please contact the transaction coordinator to check in with the listing agent.

Related Reading: Steps to Sell a House

Can you use a bank check or cashiers check to pay earnest money?


Wiring your earnest money

Many buyers opt for a wire because it costs about the same as over-nighting a check.

There has been a tremendous amount of wire fraud in recent years. When you receive the wire instruction we urge you to call the earnest money holder directly to confirm these instructions. Please know that we will NEVER send you wiring instructions.

Email accounts have been hacked and buyers deceived. Please be careful.

Save a copy of your receipt in your contracts folder.

Can you use cash to pay your earnest money?

Title companies will not accept cash for payments. Your lender will want to see a paper trail and that the earnest money came out of your bank account.

If you have any questions about this process, our team is always here to help. Send us an email susanna@co-regroup.com or call 719-321-0800.



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