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Escrow Accounts/Earnest Money


Details on escrow accounts (from the basics to escrow administration) and earnest money, as well as information on escrow fraud.


NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require a password.

Eight Earnest-Money Deposits Mistakes Home Buyers Live to Regret

  1. Not understanding what an earnest-money deposit is
  2. Not offering enough, or too little
  3. Eliminating contract contingencies
  4. Neglecting contract timelines
  5. Buying "as is"
  6. Carelessly voiding the contract
  7. Purchasing a home on impulse
  8. Letting personal problems get in the way of a purchase

Source: Eight Earnest-Money Deposit Mistakes Home Buyers Live to Regret (®, Feb. 21, 2017)

Escrow Accounts

Understanding the Escrow Process and Requirements (Investopedia, May 26, 2019)

What is Escrow? (The Balance, Apr. 19, 2019)

What is Escrow? How it Keeps Home Buyers and Sellers Safe (®, Feb. 20, 2019)

Homebuying Process (FannieMae, 2018)

FAQs About Escrow Accounts for Consumers (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2018)

Common Closing Costs for Buyers (REALTOR® Magazine, Handouts for Consumers, 2018)

Escrow Administration

What is Escrow Management? (wiseGEEK, 2018)

Administering an Escrow Account and Paying Expenses (Fannie Mae, Mar. 14, 2018)

Earnest Money Deposits

Earnest Money (Investopedia, Feb. 12, 2019)

What is Earnest Money and How Much Should a Buyer Pay? (OVM Financial, Jan. 22, 2019)

Earnest Money: What You Need to Know and How Much is Enough? (The College Investor, Nov. 18, 2018)

How Much Earnest Money Should I Put Down on a House? (Home Buying Institute, 2018)

Escrow Fraud and Real Estate

Real Estate Wire Fraud Is Real—and It Almost Happened to Me (Forbes, May 7, 2019)

The National Money Laundering Risk Assessment (National Association of REALTORS®, Feb. 11, 2019)

How to Lose the Down Payment on Your Home (Forbes, Nov. 13, 2018)

Mortgage Escrow Fraud is a $1 Billion Cyber Threat – Here’s What Homebuyers Need to Know (Bankrate, Oct. 2018)

Case Summaries - Escrow Mishandling

Citibank to Pay $7.8M to settle Escrow Account Complaints (REALTOR® Magazine, Jun. 24, 2019)

Coldwell Banker Sues for Unpaid Commission on $26M Coral Gables Auction Sale (The Real Deal, Jun. 6, 2019)

@properties, Homebuyer Sued for Failing to Hand Over Escrow Funds (The Real Deal, Sep. 14, 2018)

Franchisor Not Vicariously Liable (National Association of REALTORS® Legal Case Summaries, Aug. 22, 2018)

Licensee Liable for Wire Fraud Losses (National Association of REALTORS® Legal Case Summaries, Jul. 25, 2018)

Broker wins lawsuit over escrow retention Estate of Kupperstein v. Baum, No. 1147SC0518 (National Association of REALTORS®, Legal Case Summaries, Mass. Dist. Ct., Mar. 5, 2013)

eBooks & Other Resources

The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

American Mortgage - Everything You Need to Know About Purchasing and Financing A Home (eBook)

Busted - Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown (Audiobook)

Chain of Blame - How Wall Street Caused the Mortgage and Credit Crisis (eBook)

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Mortgages (eBook)

Decoding the New Mortgage Market (eBook)

Fast Track Your Mortgage (eBook)

How to Save Thousands of Dollars on Your Home Mortgage (eBook)

How to Sell a House When It is Worth Less than the Mortgage (eBook)

Insider Secrets to Financing Your Real Estate Investments (eBook)

The Insider's Guide to Home Equity Borrowing (eBook)

An Insider's Guide to Refinancing Your Mortgage (eBook)

The Little Black Book of Wealth Building Mortgage Secrets (eBook)

The Mortgage Answer Book - Choosing the Right Loan for You (eBook)

The Mortgage Encyclopedia (eBook)

Mortgage Myths - 77 Secrets that will Save You Thousands on Home Financing (eBook)

Mortages 101 (eBook)

The new rules for mortgages (eBook)

The Pocket Mortgage Guide (eBook)

Reverse Mortgages for Dummies (eBook)

Salomon Smith Barney Guide to Mortgage-Backed and Asset-Backed Securities (eBook)

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