How Much Earnest Money Deposit

About the author : Dave Dinkel

Don’t be outrageous with your end-buyer’s earnest money deposit request or you could kill the deal.


  • I have seen new investors ask for a 20 or 30% earnest money deposit or EMD from their end-buyer and quickly lose the deal.
  • The EMD you get from a buyer not only shows motivation and good faith, it also helps you cover your loss if he doesn’t come to the closing.
  • Specifically, here the guidelines for what amount of EMD’s to require:
  • Number one – generally, your end-buyer’s earnest money deposit should be 2 to 5 times what you put up as your earnest money deposit with the seller or the property owner.
  • For example, if you had to put up $1000, then his should be at least $2000 and as much as $5000.
  • If you can get more, go ahead and get it.
  • If your earnest money deposit was $100 then you want at least the greater of 3% of his purchase price or $1000, again whichever is GREATER.
  • Number two – if your seller makes a ridiculous request for say, $10,000 and you’re willing to risk it, then your end-buyer shouldn’t at least, put up the same amount.
  • You can say to the seller ahead of signing your contract, “We typically put up $1000 earnest money deposit with our closing agent or attorney”.
  • Say nothing after that and hand the contract to the seller to sign.
  • While I am mentioning the word “contract”, please remember to always refer to the contract as “the Agreement” as it is more easily “digested” by a seller.
  • If an end-buyer ever says he’s a HUGE buyer and he doesn’t put up EMD’s or earnest money deposits, stop what you’re doing and move on to the next buyer.
  • Even the largest hedge funds and iBuyers put up earnest money deposits.
  • Often, it’s the guys or gals who brag the most and who do the least.
  • On a final note, whether you do a double closing or an assignment, it is possible to use the end-buyer’s earnest money deposit to cover your earnest money deposit requirement with the seller.
  • You should explain the situation to the seller and get the buyer’s approval, but more importantly, you must get it in writing from the end-buyer.


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About the author : Dave Dinkel