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Asked by Hlep, Los Angeles, CA Mon Jun 18, 2012

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Kawain Payne, Agent, Seal Beach, CA
Mon Jun 18, 2012
Hello Hlep,

No No No No!!!!!

Your deposit check should be made payable to the escrow company, or it can be made payable to your agent's firm. Once an offer has been accepted the agent's firm will endorse the check to the escrow company.

In a real estate transaction no money is ever handed directly from one principle in the transaction to another.

ALL money must be distruted by ESCROW....ESCROW is the gate keeper.

Best Of Luck to you,

Kawain Payne, Realtor
2 votes
Maria C. Gom…, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Fri Jun 22, 2012
Never to the Buyer's or Seller's Agent. It is recommended to issue the check payable to the Buyer's Broker, such as payable to "Coldwell Banker". If your offer gets accepted the Manager of the buyer's Broker's office will endorse the check and turn it to the Escrow on record. The other alternative is if the Escrow Company's name has already been determined, then issue the check to the Escrow CO.
1 vote
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Tue Jun 19, 2012
Your Good Faith Deposit is made out the the brokerage, but not cashed unless your offer is accepted by the seller. It's normally 3% of the purchase price of the property.
1 vote
Judith Gotte…, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Mon Jun 18, 2012
No! You should not write the check payable to the agent. It can be made payable to the BROKERAGE FIRM who will in turn endorse it over to the escrow company. The check isn't made payable to an escrow company with the offer because the escrow company is not determined until the negotiation is complete.

Actually, nowadays I don't collect the earnest money deposit check anymore. There is a box to check on the purchase agreement which provides for the earnest money to be wired directly to escrow within 3 business days.

Good luck!
Judith Gottesfeld
Gibson International
Web Reference:
1 vote
Sang and Son…, Agent, Los Angeles CA 90069, CA
Mon Jun 18, 2012
There are several options previously mentioned here but none of which should include a check payable to the buyer's agent personally.
1 vote
Marilyn Jenne, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Mon Jun 18, 2012
If your agent is also the broker (as in my case), it is OK to make the check out to them. Sometimes the escrow company is not determined, so they can hold and sign over the check instead of bothering you with issuing a new one, or having escrow reject a generic or corrected check. I would not, however, issue a check to the "agent." In any event, your check should be turned over to either escrow or back to you within 3 days following acceptance/rejection, or you may have a problem.
1 vote
Tim Moore, Agent, Kitty Hawk, NC
Mon Jun 18, 2012
Here the listing company or the buyers agent company can hold the earnest money deposit (normally the buyers agent company does) but it is NEVER to be made out to an agent.
1 vote
Suzanne Baker, Agent, Mammoth, CA
Mon Sep 3, 2012
The escrow companies in the area where I am, accept electronic transfer of earnest money. I think this is best as the real estate brokerage isn't involved with handling the funds at all. See if your escrow company will accept wired funds.
0 votes
Jennifer Fiv…, Agent, Red Hook, NY
Fri Aug 31, 2012
The earnest money would be written out to the c ompany of the agent writing up the offer. The money should be placed in an escrow account,

In some area, earnest money is not collected. If the seller insist on seeing earnest money the check is made out to the seller's attorney.

It all depends on what the practice is, in your area.
0 votes
Daniel Shi, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Thu Jun 21, 2012
I also agree with Kawain: to the best interest of clients, EMD (Earnest Money Deposit) should NEVER be made out to an individual, it should be made payable to an entrusted third-party, in most cases that's the Escrow Company. If your buyer agent has the escrow information (why not by now), say the company is "Chicago Title Company", then make the check payable to "Chicago Title". At the very best, you can make it to "Escrow Holder" if you still don't know which escrow company to work with, but never never to an individual! It's in best interest of client, as well as good for agents so you're relieved of any possible "Commingling".

Daniel Shi
1.888.785.8818 ext.100
0 votes
Ron Escobar -…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Mon Jun 18, 2012
If this is a Buyer's agent.. then NO... if it is a listing agent, it may be the case that they are a licensed broker and as such they have the authority to receive funds on behalf of their client as long as they follow certain rules.

The bottom line, if it looks suspicious then do not do it. As questions and become informed.. if you do not trust your buyer's agent then you should not be working with them, and viceversa. I only work with people I trust and they trust me :)

Best of luck

Ron Escobar, MBA
Broker & General Contractor
0 votes
Jeneen Oh, Agent, Los Angeless, CA
Mon Jun 18, 2012
NO! It is the buyer's agent responsibility to inform you that the earnest money is made out to the escrow company upon signing the purchase agreement. The EMD (earnest deposit money) needs to be in the hands of escrow within three business days after.. and also, you have the option of wiring in the EMD to escrow within 3 business days.

jeneen oh
S O T H E B Y S International Realty -Los Feliz

where you live matters
0 votes
Janey Bishop, Agent, Encino, CA
Mon Jun 18, 2012
The earnest money has to be to escrow within 3 days unless contract specifies other. Fastest way is to send it directly to escrow. It is important to show Seller you are efficient and serious to make your transaction go as smoothly as possible
0 votes
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Mon Jun 18, 2012
Absolutely not!!! The deposit check should ideally be made payable to the escrow company the seller wishes to use OR the name of the buyer's agent 's real estate brokerage. Under no circumstances are you to write a check to the agent directly...If you are asked to do their broker right away.
0 votes
Sona Gallatin, Agent, Santa Clarita, CA
Mon Jun 18, 2012
a PHOTOCOPY of the EMD check can have the brokerage name on it, but it just to show good faith, once your offer is accepted, you will be notified as to who the escrow company is and where you should wire the money. The EMD will have to be a certified check from a bank anyway.
0 votes
John Souerbry, Agent, Fairfield, CA
Mon Jun 18, 2012
No, please make it out to me or place small denomination, unmarked bills in a black satchel and leave in locker number 357 at the Greyhound Bus terminal in downtown LA. I will take the money to Mexico where it will be safe until you call for it. I'll send you my phone number as soon as I am safely out of the country with your money. Trust me.
Just kidding.
California deposit checks should always be made out to the escrow company.
Every broker has their own procedures, but I never take a deposit check from a buyer, I ask them to hold keep it until the seller accepts their offer. At that point I ask the buyer to deliver the check directly to the escrow company themselves (unless they are an out-of-town buyer). As a buyer myself, I always follow this procedure regardless of what the broker I'm working with asks for. I look at it this way - my name, address, and account number are on that check. For security reasons, I want to make sure it touches as few hands and is seen by as few eyes as possible.
0 votes
good one, very funny!
Flag Mon Jun 18, 2012
Dot Chance, Agent, Burbank, CA
Mon Jun 18, 2012
We usually have our clients make the check payable to "Escrow" What does the contract say?

Dot Chance
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes
Jane Peters, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Mon Jun 18, 2012
Here in California you generally make out your earnest money deposit directly to escrow upon signing of contract. The EMD needs to be in the hands of escrow within three days after.
0 votes
Kathleen Bec…, Agent, Santa Monica, CA
Mon Jun 18, 2012
HI Hlep:

It would be in your better interested if you made the earnest money deposit check out to the escrow company or the Real Estate Company that your agent's works for. It's not recommended to make it out directly to the agent.

Good luck!

All the best,

Kat Becker, Realtor
Prudential California Realty
0 votes
Terry McCarl…, Agent, Cape Coral, FL
Mon Jun 18, 2012
NO! The earnest money should be held in the Broker's escrow account or at a Title Company or a law firm - it should never be made payable to the real estate agent.
0 votes
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