you should talk to your Realtor and ask him/her this question. The amount buyers put with an offer can vary, example 500- 1000. Sometimes a buyer may make a larger deposit to convince the seller that their offer is stronger than the others but as I mentioned you should talk to your Realtor who will help you structure the offer.
There are dates to be adhered to and if necessary your buyer's agent should help you with asking for an extension if needing more time. I am sorry you have lost money. If I can be of further help to you in purchasing a home if you are not working under contract with an agent, you may call me at 508 648-0393.
You should not get involved in a contract until you fully understand your rights in the contract and you have your deposit money adequately protected.
There are several opinions being provided here. What may be unclear is that real estate practices differ from state to state...so you might consider focusing your attention on the responses that come from Massachusetts agents. Judy Boyle and Heidi Zizza said it best. In Lexington, MA, if you're writing an offer for $625k, you'll provide $1,000 with the offer and then perform your inspections. If everything checks out, you'll proceed to the Purchase & Sale Agreement and write another check for $30,250 ($1,000+$30,250=5% of the purchase price). These deposits are 100% protected provided you adhere the deadlines laid out in your offer and P&S. Part of a buyer agent's job is to keep you aware of upcoming deadlines so your deposit isn't in jeopardy.
99% of the time buyer agents are paid by the seller. It is free representation for you so you should definitely take advantage of it for such an important purchase.
I hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your offer. Lexington is a great town...you can't go wrong. :-)
With that said it is entirely up to you what you want to put down for a deposit, there is no set amount. The considerations are you want to put enough money down to be considered a serious buyer and that you have skin in the game but as little as possible to limit your financial liability if something should happen.
Based on your comment below, you have a 20% downpayment. That should be reflected in your preapproval letter which needs to accompany your offer. When you write your offer you should provide an initial $1,000 earnest deposit to express your serious intent to enter into negotiations. If the offer is not accepted, you get that deposit back.
Also in your initial offer, you should indicate that you will supply a supplemental earnest deposit when you sign a Purchase and Sale Agreement (this typically takes place after you have conducted your home inspection). In our area, sellers like to have 5% of the sales price held in escrow. Your initial $1,000 deposit counts towards this 5%. To put it another way, based on a sale price of $625,000, you entire earnest monies held in escrow total $31,250. If any of the contingencies set forth in the original offer are not met you reserve the right to terminate the offer and receive a return of your deposits.
What concerns me about your comment below is that you already have "lost" $40,000 in a prior transaction. This tells me that you are not being properly counseled and/or represented. If you are not already using a buyer agent, it is HIGHLY recommended that you do. You do not pay any fee and you could ultimately SAVE money....and certainly not LOSE any more! If you are following the terms of your contract, you should NEVER lose any money!!
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