Thanks for a good question that all buyers should ask BEFORE they sign an offer. ( I trust that's your case.)
When you sign an offer to purchase realestate, you are signing a LEGAL BINDING AGREEMENT! Until the seller signs it and you (or your agent) have been notified that it IS SIGNED it is an 'OFFER', and you MAY be able to withdraw it without consequences. Once all parties have agreed on all points and have SIGNED the offer, it becomes a CONTRACT, and making unilateral changes to the terms WILL have CONSEQUENCES. One of those consequences may be loss of deposit/good faith money--that is why money is put down as a deposit. But there may be other things as well.
-Read and Make sure that you understand what you are obligating yourself to -BEFORE you sign!.
-ASK Your agent to carefully explain ANY details of the contract to you that are unclear, and if necessary, get legal advice. A good agent will not rush you in to something you don't understand, and will diligently try to explain it to you . IF you are not comfortable- DONT SIGN.
-WHEN YOU SIGN, you are saying that you take full responsibility for what is in the contract, and will stand by your signature--that is integrity.
Thanks again for a good question. Hope that helps!
Remember earnest money is an agreement that the seller take or hold the property till all agree where the property stands on condition issues, and if you back out that money is to cover any other potential buyer that the seller could have lost during this process...
I hope that helps!