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Earnest Money
After many months of searching, you have found your ideal house. You are a little older and a little wiser now, so you want to give the impression that you are serious without appearing to be too eager. What should you do? In the marketplace, "money talks."

There is no absolute rule about how much "good-faith" deposit you should put down--but it is a tool to make your point with the seller. The typical $1,000 will hold many homes for you, except in larger-home markets where it may be critical for you to show that you are a serious and able buyer quickly. You don't want to make a deposit that is too large in case there is a problem getting your money back, but if your offer is substantially below the asking price, a larger deposit--$5,000 or $10,000--might influence the seller.

If you make a low deposit with your offer, be sure to provide for an increased deposit when the offer is accepted or upon removal of the contingencies.

 
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