Earnest money is effectively a “good-faith deposit.” It’s like saying “Here is my offer to purchase, and here is some money to go along with it, just to let you know that I’m serious.”

Now the amount that you put down does matter. It’s generally due within 3 days of your Accepted Offer to Purchase. The 3 days is a variable; your Buyer’s Agent can change that in your offer, but typically it’s 3 days.  

The amount is generally 1% of the purchase price, rounded to the nearest $500. Use your Buyer’s Agent’s best advice on this, because you never know–it might be the difference between getting an accepted offer and not.

Imagine that you’re a seller and you get 5 offers on the table. Everything is the same except for earnest money. 4 of the offers have $1000 in earnest money; the 5th one has $3000. Which one are you going to go with? So it does matter.

Now for underwriting purposes, we’ll need a copy of the front and back of the cancelled, cashed earnest money check. This can only happen if the seller has received the check, they have cashed it, then you log into your account for the front and back. Get us a copy for underwriting and that’s all we’ll need.