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Making Earnest Money Deposits


Earnest money are funds you put up to show your intent to buy the property. When you make an offer, you can show the sellers a copy of your earnest money check; once your offer is accepted, in Texas the check must be delivered and recorded by close of the second business day and will be deposited into escrow.

  • Decide how much money you want to put up - typically between $500 and $5,000, depending on purchase price. The less, the better unless you are buying a very hot property. If a seller has multiple offers at very similar prices often they will select the buyer who has the most earnest money.
  • Determine how the money is to be paid: by personal check, cashier's check, money order (I would never pay with cash the funds are harder to prove if there are problems later.)
  • Identify who is to receive the money: a title company or a broker's trust account.
  • Stipulate the terms of the return of your money if certain events don't happen or results are unacceptable (such as problems with inspections, reports or documents).
  • Do not actually hand over your earnest money until your offer has been accepted and signed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once your offer has been accepted and the contract signed, escrow should be opened and the earnest money check should be deposited. The money will remain in escrow until the transaction closes or is canceled.
  • Never make your check or money order payable directly to the seller.
  • If the deal falls through and you want to get your money back, the buyer and the seller must instruct the escrow company in writing to cancel the transaction and release the funds (deposit) to the buyer.
  • If the seller refuses to release your deposit, check your contract and make sure you have the right to get your money back. You may have to contact an attorney to help you.




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10721 Jackson Lane, Frisco TX 75035

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