Sizing up purchase deposits

Different markets have different customs

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In most states, it’s customary, or required by law, for the buyers to include a good faith deposit when they make an offer to purchase a home. The deposit should not be given directly to the seller, but held by a trustworthy third party that maintains a trust account specifically for home purchase deposits, such as an escrow or title company, real estate firm or real estate broker.

The deposit can be in the form of a check made out to the third-party company or it can be wired into the appropriate account. The size of the deposit you make is usually determined by market conditions and local custom, except for specific types of sales, such as probate sales or sales of homes in a housing development where a minimum deposit is required.