When I first read your question I was thinking of an initial good faith deposit, not the purchase down payment and/or closing funds; however, as it turns out my response is still accurate.
Technically, escrow CAN accept a personal check for the purchase down payment/closing funds; but, there are submission timelines you must meet. The personal check must be submitted to allow no less than a 7 business day hold for local banks and/or a 10 business day hold for non-local banks. These requirements are to ensure the funds transfer from the account and the check does not bounce. Once you bypass the timeline cut-offs above Escrow will refuse acceptance of a personal check for the closing funds.
In practice, most Buyers sign off right before they are ready to close escrow; as such, this method of payment is many times removed as an option as there is not enough time for the funds to clear the account. Of course, if you know ahead of time you can plan for this. In fact, depending on the total amount being transferred, the interest being paid on the savings account and the cost of the wire transfer fee you may slightly reduce your transaction cost by using the personal check.
Best Regards, Steve
You can write a personal check for the initial deposit when you make an offer on a property but the rest of the down payment has to be paid to the escrow company at time of closing via certified funds or a wire transfer.