Earnest Money/Title Company Questions - first time buyer

3 Replies

I finally put my first property under contract last night. I unexpectedly ended up finding something off the MLS so I won't have an agent to hold my hand like I originally planned. I understand how everything works WITH an agent helping me but if I'm being honest, I am kind of lost on the title company/escrow side of things now that it's all in my court. Any input on my questions below would be a huge help and greatly appreciated.

1) I agreed to put down an earnest money deposit at a specific title company. How does this process work? The seller mentioned he was going to contact them (seller is a licensed agent) but if I'm being honest, I'm not entirely sure what my role is here other than the fact that I am giving a check for a certain amount. Do I need to contact the title company before I show up to set up the account? Can I show up at any one of their branches?

2) Other than the earnest money deposit, do I need to pay the title company anything right now or do I just pay them in closing fees at the end? The contract says the seller pays for the title insurance.

3) Please let me know if you think I am overlooking anything else important here...

Thanks! Apologies for the novel.

If you are more comfortable with an agent just find one to represent you on the buy side, and pay them out of funds at closing. That would be my recommendation on your first deal.

1. The title company should generate a file or deal number that you would reference when paying your earnest money. When you use and agent the earnest money is generally collected by the buy side broker and then deducted from their proceeds at signing. Should be able to show up at any branch as long as you have that file/deal number. Seller should provide it

2. Not sure if this is cash or finance, but all other fees would be due at closing. You should get a HUD aka closing statement that outlines exactly how proceeds are distributed at closing and who is due what amounts. If you have a lender a big portion of the money comes from them.

@Bret Kingcade you’re probably overthinking this.

Contact the title company independently, not through an agent.

Ask them how they want to take earnest money. I usually do this via check or money order. Send it to them. Make sure you get a receipt.

That’s about all there is to it