In real estate transactions, the agents do not get paid until close escrow and escrow company does not get paid until after close escrow either.
Hope your agent is a savvy short sale agent.
In CA contracts, there is a short sale addendum. On the addendum, you can specify whether you will open escrow immediately or after you receive written approval from the short sale lender; you can also specify whether you need to put the good faith deposit into escrow when the contract is ratified or when you receive short sale approval. For my buyer clients, I check the box ways after receive written approvals.
However, that's when you will deposit the check into escrow.
You question asked if you should 'write' the good faith deposit check or not. The answer for my clients will be an YES. The check is used to show good faith to the owner seller (that you actually wrote the check). But the check should be held by your agent at a safe place until a short sale approval is recieved before he/she send it to escrow.
Frank Howard Allen Realtors
Short Sale Specialist
In that addendum that Kathy mentioned, there is also a space to provide an approval date. I tend to write one that is reasonable, but releases you from the escrow after a longer than desired wait time (if you choose or find something else). Check with your Realtor about what the addendum says. Check the date, and make sure the box that Kathy mentioned is checked!
Just to clarify - the Selling Agent would be "your" agent. The "Listing Agent" is the representative for the seller.
In several situations, the Listing Agent requires the buyer to deposit funds into escrow. By doing this, it usually shows that the buyer is serious enough to stay for the long duration of a Short Sale. This is sometimes called an "Accomodation Escrow". Meaning that the bank has not given approval, but an escrow account has been established so when & if the approval is received, the sale can proceed. Many escrow companies get the ball rolling early so they can expedite the process when the approval is received.
I would consult with your agent on their take on your particular situation. When we open an Accomodation Escrow for our clients, we write an Addendum clarifying that the full deposit be returned if approval is not received. Although it's the norm that it is refunded, we still back it up with the Addendum.
Best of luck!