Who does the check get written out to??
I had to write mine out to the mortgage company. They keep it until the deal closes and then it is "brought to the table" as part of the down payment. Make sure you don't write it out to the seller, their real estate agent, the agent's company or your own agent, if you have one.
To protect the buyer, it should be paid to a disinterested third party;
here, the check goes to the title company.
Be careful if your seller or builder wants the check payable to him/her/them, especially if they call it a "deposit", meaning that they don't have to give it back if they don't want to.
I was once in a short lived transaction in Colorado. I was instructed to make check out to the Cherry Creek REmax office, which I did. The deal fell through & I got it back right away.
It's different in different areas. In the office I work at most EM checks are written to our office's client trust account. If the RE office does not have a client trust account you may be asked to make the check out the the escrow company, if they are used in your state. I have never heard of a EM check being written to a mortgage company. That doesn't really make sense to me. You do NOT want to make the check out to the seller, as it would be difficult to get the money back if the deal were to fall through.
I don't remember all of our earnest money deposits, but the few I do remember were written to the listing realtor's trust account.
I made mine out to my buyer agent's RE company.
Thanks so much everyone.
Here we advice our buyers to make the check out to the buyer's brokerage, who then deposits the check in a separate account (it will not be cashed until acceptance unless the buyer approves it). It is a good way to keep a third party who is responsible and audited to keep your earnest money while awaiting escrow. Good luck and keep us updated.
You definitely want the EM check to be deposited either with escrow or to your broker's account, NOT the listing broker's account. You don't want someone on the other side to have control of the earnest money.
Good tip terriks!
This is entirely dependent on where you are. Here in southern NY, the seller's attorney holds the downpayment in an escrow account.