Once you have a signed, accepted contract the earnest money (or good faith deposit) is held by either a title company or the listing agent's firm and this will be known to you before you present your offer. The title company will do the title work of course but 99% of the time will also handle the closing of the transaction and loan closing.
I'm sure the process may be different where you lived before. I think it's fairly simple here but I'm glad you asked!
Feel free to contact me with any further questions.
In Colorado we have Agency Agreements. The best way to proceed in a purchase is with the help and guidance of a Buyer's Agent. He works for you and the seller pays his commission. His first duty should be to have a buyer's conference with you and explain all of these questions and more to your satisfaction. The 'Earnest Money' deposit is held by either the listing broker's office or a specified title company. Once under contract, the contract is sent to your lender and to the title company for processing in preparation for the closing which is usually about 30-45 days from signing. The Buyer's Broker will draft the contract here in Colorado under almost all circumstances. It is rare that lawyers get involved in this, but they can if you do not have a Buyer's Agent. I just noticed that this is an older question, but you are not the only one 'curious'. All the best.
Robert McGuire ASR
Your Castle Real Estate
Direct - 303-669-1246
Did you hire an agent to represent you? that should be the first thing you do! Your agent should explain all of this to you on the contract and dates.
After the seller accepts depending on the contract is where the money is held ( All can be negotiated)
This is not like back East we do not usr lawyers as the agents draw up the contracts on a Colorado Approved for, BUT you can have them looked over by your lawyer and should if you feel that you need to.
Title company can be decided by the buyer or the seller and that can be in your contract as well. They do most of the research the lawyers do back east. If you have questions call any time! 303-949-9433
Jenny did a great job of answering your question, but I wanted to add a couple of things.
One of the things different in Colorado than in many states, is that there is no "dual agency" in this state. Consequently, there are either Buyer's Agents or Transactions Brokers that can assist you with finding a house I wrote an article about representation in Colorado, and the article is posted on my web site.
It's important for you to understand the different ways you can be represented.
Also, even though Realtors in Colorado are licensed to write contracts on approved Real Estate Forms, you can always seek legal advise on the contract.