Early Release of Earnest Money is Becoming More Prevalent, Here is What You Should Know.

close up of home model, money and house keys

The Housing market is red hot and in a world of bidding wars buyers are becoming more creative and aggressive when submitting offers.

In addition to offering above asking price, escalation clauses or all cash offers, many buyers are resorting to other strategies. Buyers, wary from losing out on bidding wars, exhaustive searching and limited inventory are waiving contingencies, paying the sellers closing costs and even paying for the sellers moving expenses!  Some buyers are taking the risk to release the Earnest Money upon receipt of mutual acceptance of the Purchase and Sale in effort to sweeten the deal.

It is extremely important to note that most all these addenda, waivers and enticements have a potential and very real downside. Buyers should be well informed and advised to seek legal counsel prior to making such offers.  Once you release funds from escrow to the seller, you’re most likely never getting the money back, whether you close the deal or not. 

Your Clients offer is accepted!

Take a quick victory lap to congratulate your client(s) and yourself on Mutual Acceptance and then you need to get the earnest money deposit turned in to the designated holder by the date outlined in your Purchase and Sale Contract. 

Here are a few things to know about Earnest Money and particularly about offers calling for immediate release of earnest money to the seller.

Acceptable Earnest Money Options Include:  Wire Transfer, Cashier’s Check or Personal Check. It is important to note that Earnest Money will need to be deposited in the same form as indicated on the PSA to keep in line with the terms of the contract.

Earnest Money Deposit Options Include: Wire Transfer, Deliver to any Rainier Title Office, Fed Ex, Courier and Mobile Check Deposits. Check out this link regarding the ZOCCAM App for personal check  mobile deposits; https://www.zoccam.com/

Financial Institutions require a Seven (7) Business Day hold on all Personal Checks. If the contract calls for Earnest Money to be released immediately to the seller before that Seven-day hold is up, the funds will need to be deposited as a Wire Transfer or a Cashier’s Check drawn from a bank in WA State. It’s a good idea to call this out on the first page of the PSA including that that the buyer must deposit via Wire or Cashier’s Check.  

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