Notes from the Legal Hotline: Earnest Money

Q. I received a deposit check with an offer; at what point should this be deposited?

A. The Regulations contained within 254 CMR 3.00 require that funds received during the pendency of a transaction be immediately deposited into a bank escrow account unless otherwise agreed to by the parties. Once the parties have entered into a binding contract for the purchase of a property, absent any agreement to the contrary, any monies received are required to be turned over to the broker and immediately deposited into an escrow account. Although the Regulations do not require earnest money deposit checks to be deposited prior to the seller’s acceptance of the offer, the receiving party of such funds must still take proper care to ensure the security of those funds until they are required to be deposited or returned to the issuing party.