An offer-to-purchase real estate is made up of many elements, some of which are arguably more important than others.
In most cases, price sits at the top of the list.
Conditions are another biggie, followed by any significant clauses, the closing date, inclusions, exclusions...
And of course, one of the most important elements of an offer – the deposit.
The deposit forms a few key functions.
First, it shows good faith on the buyer’s part and gives the seller peace-of-mind that the person they’re dealing with is qualified and sincere.
Secondly, the deposit amount is applied to the purchase price of the home when the sale closes.
How Much Should The Deposit Be?
There’s no set amount when it comes to real estate deposits, but 5% of the purchase price is generally a good rule of thumb.
Having said that, I’ve seen deposits of less than 5%, especially when it comes to first-time buyers (eg. $20,000 on a $500,000 property).
Deposits of greater than 5% are not out of the ordinary either.
We see these often in multiple-offer scenarios, where buyers are doing everything they can to give themselves the upper hand over their competition.
When Is The Deposit Due?
The pre-printed deposit section of an Agreement of Purchase and Sale gives three options for when the deposit is to be paid: Herewith, Upon Acceptance, or as otherwise described in this Agreement.
The following image is a screenshot of the Deposit clause as it appears on the standard APS:
You can see that "Upon Acceptance" means that the deposit is to be delivered to the Deposit Holder (most often the Listing Brokerage) within 24 hours of the acceptance of the Agreement.
"Herewith" is just as it sounds, the deposit is submitted along with the offer.
"As otherwise described in this Agreement" can mean a few things.
The buyer and seller may agree, for example, that the deposit be delivered within 48 hours (as opposed to 24 hours).
Or they may agree to an initial deposit PLUS subsequent additional deposit(s) upon removal of conditions.
For example, the buyer will fork over $10,000 now and then an additional $5,000 once they secure financing.
Aside from "How Much?" and "When?", another common question I get from buyers is, "Does My Deposit Cheque Need To Be Certified?"
This is a great question... Stay tuned for a future blog post in which I'll give the answer.
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