Paul S.  Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority! (RE/MAX Northwest.)

Spam prevention
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

In my area, it's typically 1% of sales/list price. If it's a bidding war - then, it's finding the right number for the Due Diligence fee that demonstrates to the sellers that our buyers are putting some serious skin in the game to buy their home!

Even in bidding wars, the EMD stays in that 1% range - it's the Due Diligence Fee that we tweak.

Jul 27, 2019 11:07 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

There's no magic number in my opinion and the earnest money "custom" is usually dictated by area.  Typically in our area it has been 3% of purchase price and in some situations higher in order for an offer to "stand out" in a competitive situation. This can be a hefty hunk of change.

I remember a real life situation where I was representing a buyer making an offer on a listing just beyond our "normal" market area where the listing agent/broker was also the  property owner who requested $1000 as emd(earnest money deposit) even though that was a percentage that was much less than the typical percentage.  Knowing local nuances makes a difference.  

Jul 27, 2019 11:32 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

EM just one part of the puzzle, plus always the sellers decision.

Jul 28, 2019 03:49 AM
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

I don't care much about earnest money. I care about the due diligence fee offered to my sellers... that's the real skin in the game for a buyer. Typically, we look for about 1-2% of the purchase price in combined DDF and EM and I prefer the greatest portion to be allocated to DDF. 

Jul 28, 2019 05:52 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

No magic number as a set rule. Sometimes small and sometimes large.

Jul 28, 2019 05:09 AM
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Home and Condo Specialists

If you are referring to a down-payment  it's usually 5-10%  of the purchase price at contract signing. If you're referring to a deposit along with the Sales Agreement, then it's 0 - We don't give deposits and go straight to contract after home inspection...

Jul 28, 2019 04:09 AM
Dan Pittsenbarger
Keller Williams Western Realty - Bellingham, WA
Improving Conditions

The number that helps a seller choose your buyer's offer over another's.

Jul 28, 2019 07:03 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

we look at the whole picture, including the length of the closing and the conditions to be satisfied..... the clean deal is the favorite and the deposit reflects that....  we like seeing a 5% deposit....but it's a case to case decision.

Jul 28, 2019 04:48 AM
Buzz Mackintosh
Mackintosh REALTORS - Frederick, MD
“Experience, reliable, leadership”

Depends on the property and motivation & how serious the Buyer wants to show good faith via the EMD to the Seller.

Jul 28, 2019 03:41 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

There is no standard here. Some agents indicate their sellers need a certain amount or certain percentage, but often, it's up for negotiation.

Jul 28, 2019 02:20 AM
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

The biggest one I've seen is around 5K, unless it is a commercial sale

Jul 28, 2019 02:07 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Ask them how serious they want the seller to take their offer.

Jul 28, 2019 12:45 AM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

For a total, I like to see 5% if possible. That's not a hard and fast as I've seen less and more

Jul 29, 2019 08:30 AM
Peter Testa
Nationwide Homes - Danbury, CT

Here  in CT the standard is 1%. 

Jul 28, 2019 06:54 AM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

Depends on the property and the deal. Since earnest money is usually refundable during due diligence, my opinion is it should be a good amount to show good faith -- that's what EM is. I've seen up to 50,000. I've seen 25,000 non-refundable from the beginning. I've seen 500 and on occasion it has been okay. It's a skin in the game thing. But it's never one-size-fits-all.

Jul 28, 2019 06:27 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


No magic number, it is one of those it depends situation.  A

Jul 28, 2019 06:19 AM
Valeria Mola
SIB Realty - Miami, Sunny Isles Beach - Sunny Isles Beach, FL
305-607-0709 SIB Realty

$5000 and 2nd = 10%

Jul 28, 2019 06:15 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

There has to be a reason for me to ask for a large sum. $500-$5000 usually does it but more importantly is to read the people behind it all i.e. can they perform? Are they real? Trouble? Fast close? Short close? etc.

Jul 28, 2019 05:37 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Almost always 3% here. 

Jul 30, 2019 12:01 AM
Abby Stiller
REMAX Realty Group - Cape Coral, FL
Professional Bilingual Realtor (239) 284-8637

I've seen from $1,000 up to $100k. For small lots typically is $500

Jul 29, 2019 08:00 AM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

1% of sale price is common, but there is no set amount. Some buyers will use a high amount to help their offer look more serious to the sellers.

Jul 29, 2019 06:32 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Prado Real Estate South - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

There is no magic number. The higher the amount, the more serious the offer.

Jul 29, 2019 05:23 AM
Brenda Mayette
Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. - Glenville, NY
Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how!

1% of the proposed sale price is our local practice... It's too little and too easy to get back if the buyer flakes out.  We don't have a due diligence fee that some have referenced in their answers. 

Jul 29, 2019 04:15 AM
Michelle Carr Crowe,Altas Just Call...408-252-8900!
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Here in Silicon Valley, we most commonly use 3% - as that's the "general maximum amount" allowed as damages if the deal goes south after contingencies are removed.

Jul 28, 2019 05:08 PM
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

A magic number, no, although I'll always ask for 20%. That being said the range has been between $1 up to seven figures and would you believe the dollar was the more diffiucult deposit to receive. It's a funny business!

Jul 28, 2019 04:40 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

3% of the purchase price due to legal wording in our contacts that restricts the amount of forfeit to be expected regarding the earnest money in a default situation if the paragraph - Liquidated Damages - has been agreed to among the parties.

3% of the average sale in the San Francisco Bay Area is a significant chunk of change.

Also, in California, there is not a separate "due diligence" fee. The EMD does double duty.

Jul 28, 2019 04:19 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

I average $10,000 flat above $500K # or 1-3% pending the price point and competition. It varies, but I use % less these days than I used to.

Jul 28, 2019 03:28 PM
Don Baker
Lane Realty - Eatonton, GA

it depends.  Cash offers usually get more, finance around 1%, but it's always a case by case basis

Jul 28, 2019 02:14 PM
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

I think it's a factor of variables, such as price of the property, evaluation and % leverage of the buyer, market conditions, competitiveness, and other risk factors.

I'd say I counter about 40% of offers with higher EM. Tie-down the buyer closer to the fire, eliminate the weak, the uncertain, the riskies and the barely able to buy.

Jul 28, 2019 12:09 PM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

3% RMD. The ones that were $250 buyers were not serious. 

Jul 28, 2019 10:41 AM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

The standard in my area has always been 3% for EMD.  Anything less and it usually gets countered, anything more gets noticed!

Jul 28, 2019 09:39 AM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

I our market it is typically 1%.  But the more earnest money, typically the stronger the offer.

Jul 28, 2019 09:32 AM
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

In my area, it is 3% of the purchase price. That number is not magic. It came about because it ties to liquidated damages which if both parties agree to, caps at 3%. 

Jul 28, 2019 08:42 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor

The only time I've asked is when they don't offer any Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS and then I ask for 10%.

Jul 29, 2019 01:54 PM
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

No more than 3%, but we leave it up to the buyer to decide, then work from that point

Jul 28, 2019 08:44 AM
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

I usually ask for 1% or minimum $1k

Jul 30, 2019 05:47 AM
Adam Feinberg
NYC Condo, Co-op, and Townhouse specialist

In Manhattan, it's Zero for an accepted offer with the expectation that both parties are exchanging attorney info for contract creation and due diligence within 24 hours (approx). Once the contracts are finalized and the buyer's attorney has reviewed all due diligence materials, then a 10% deposit at contract signing is the norm,

Aug 26, 2019 10:16 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Around Denver, we usually see 1% of the purchase price, and I round up.

Aug 10, 2019 10:07 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

1% normally

Aug 02, 2019 09:01 AM
David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation
Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential


It is VERY rare with our Colorado contract that the seller would ever get the earnest money. With 5 military installations in our area we have a high percentage of VA buyers. We also have a lot of inbound relo buyers who may not have closed yet on the home their moving from. So unless there is a good reason to the contrary I suggest sellers keep earnest money on the low side of 1% or less.

Aug 02, 2019 08:42 AM