Real Estate Glossary

What is Earnest Money?

Earnest money is a sum of money that is paid by a buyer to a seller as a show of good faith and as a commitment to purchase a property. Earnest money is also known as a "good faith deposit," and it is typically held in escrow until the closing of the transaction. Earnest money may be applied to the purchase price of the property or to closing costs, and it may be refundable or non-refundable, depending on the terms of the agreement and the circumstances of the sale.