All great questions to ask your REALTOR. In a short sale YOU WILL HAVE A GAZILLION more questions. So, what did your Realtor say? -----------Without the requirement to secure earnest money, nothing prevents anybody from writing an offer on everything on the market. Then you would be asking, "why is everything shown as 'under contract?." ========= The earnest money will be applied to your purchase and will appear on the HUD! If you are unable to complete the purchase AND the cause for that non=proformance is permitted, the ernest money will be returned to you.======= You should be aware, when you write that check, IT WILL BE DEPOSITED! Otherwise it is just a piece of paper in the folder. ---------- You are correct to suggest different conditions may exist with a short sale. It was true in years past that earnest was not due until the bank responded with a counter. Those days are gone. The earnest money keeps you honest, makes you wait and gives ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE SPENDING TIME< MONEY AND RESOURCES a reason to think you will stick around. Most buyers do not. So, the earnest is needed even MORE with short sales. ----------Best of success, ------Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate Remax Realtec Group, -------- Palm Harbor, FL------ 727.420.4041 ------http://FIrstLookHomes.us.