Is it customary to pay your full downpayment for a condo before closing?

Asked by Terri Brathwaite, 11233 Mon Jan 26, 2009

Is it the usual practice in the industry for the seller to ask for full downpayment on signing of the sale contract. Before the closing and before the home is officially turned over to you??

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Dave Heck, , Arcadia, CA
Tue Jan 27, 2009
I don't know how you could officially close without all the money changing hands.
1 vote
Mitchell Fel…, Agent, Brooklyn, NY
Wed Jan 28, 2009
Usual practice here in Brooklyn would be that you put 5% to 10% down at the signing of the contract. If you are going more than 10% down you would give the balance of your down payment at the closing table. That is usual practice, however, in real estate matters, it is always a case by case basis. The question becomes "how badly do you want to purchase the property?" If you really want the property, all I can say is don't make waves!
0 votes
Pierre Calza…, Other Pro,
Tue Jan 27, 2009
Yes. In New York City it definitely is. Now, you can negotiate giving less prior to the contract signing, but you need to give earnest money. With the market situation these days, and such I can see a seller's attorney being a little stiff about the contract money. It is also typically a substantial amount. This shows that you won't walk away. There should be verbiage in your contract which outlines specific cases where if you cancel the contract you will get your money back, an example maybe a 30 day mortgage contingency, if you can't get a mortgage commitment in 30 days, and you can prove you attempted with several banks, you may have an out. TALK TO YOUR ATTORNEY.

Also, you say "full down-payment" well are you buying 20% down? if so, it is a bit much, 5-10% should be enough earnest money. If you are buying the home with less than 10% down and the seller is asking for it at contract, it is normal due to the low financial risk on your end.

The good news though, this is held in escrow by the sellers attorney. Meaning, it won't be spent. Your attorney should advise you accordingly as well. I HIGHLY recommend a Real Estate Attorney, not a friend, or a contract attorney, etc. you need a Real Estate attorney because they are well-versed to the norms in the industry and won't mess up your deal.
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Ralph Windsc…, Agent, Hauppauge, NY
Tue Jan 27, 2009
From your zip code, it looks like you're in NY State. If that's the case, then yes, it's definitely the practice to put your down payment down on signing of a contract - whatever the down payment you offered on your offer. It will more than likely be held by the seller's attorney, not the seller, in an escrow account until the actual closing. Good luck.
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Vassi Saviano, Agent, Elk Grove Village, IL
Tue Jan 27, 2009
Check with your attorney, but I would say that you do not have to give the entire down payment at the signing of the contract. You may want to give earnest money usually 1.5% to 2% (in my area) of the purchase price. That money is held by an Escrowee, in trust for the mutual benefit of the parties involved. NEVER give money to the seller directly.
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