David, I'm in New York and perhaps the process differs in other states. I'll try to be brief. This is how it happens here. After your accepted offer, the seller's Attorney will create the Contract of Sale and send it to your Attorney. Home inspection aside, You will submit (most likely by Bank Check) an ernest money deposit that is intended as a good faith deposit that you intend to close escrow. This amount is usually half of whatever your total downpayment will be. Your contract will have the name of the Bank that will hold the money in a non-interest bearing account. The balance of your total downpayment is due at the closing table. Your financing Bank will also be there with the remainder of the full purchase price. They will review your HUD statement with you detailing all of your purchase-related costs prior to closing. Many states and municipalities allow Real Estate Agents and Brokers to create the contract and receive deposits. Be aware that most contracts have a "financial contingency" clause. This will allow you to not forfiet your initial deposit in case you cannot secure financing. My best suggestion; use an Attorney to review the Contract before you sign. Good luck out there.