MAR Notes from the Legal Hotline: Depositing Checks

Q. At what point should a check received with an offer 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.

Written by: Justin Davidson, General Counsel; Catherine Taylor, Associate Counsel; Kate Berard, Associate Counsel; and Jonathan Schreiber, Legislative & Regulatory Counsel. Services provided through the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®, by providing this service, assumes no actual or implied responsibility for any improper use of responses to questions through this service. The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® will not be legally responsible for any potential misrepresentations or errors made by providing this service. For more  information regarding these topics authorized callers should contact the MAR legal hotline at 800-370-5342 or e-mail at