3 Different Deadlines for Earnest Money in Escrow

As you go through the escrow closing process, you’ll notice different escrow deadlines that you should earmark and keep on your radar to ensure everything goes smoothly. 

After the homebuyer establishes an escrow account, they will be assigned an escrow agent to help them through the process. Their first step is to make the initial deposit, aka good faith money.

 By doing this, the prospective buyer is showing the seller that they are serious about the transaction.


good faith money


Once the initial deposit is made, the homeowner will have numerous opportunities to back out of the purchase, which are outlined in the escrow process timeline below. 

At this time, money for any fees related to the escrow account will be paid. This is usually split between seller and buyer, the specifics of which are typically agreed upon in the initial contract.

The deadlines we’ll be covering in this blog can be negotiated by both the buyer and seller, and at almost every deadline, there is an opportunity that the potential home buyer can back out of their purchase agreement and still receive their earnest money. 


If you are unsure about your contingency deadlines, you’ve come to the right place! Check out these commonly disputed deadlines so that you can be prepared and know what to look out for. 

contingency deadlines

1. Home Inspection Contingency Escrow Deadline for Earnest Money


This is the date by which all of the home inspections must have been completed. If the buyer discovers something unsatisfactory about the property during this time that is non-negotiable for them, they can drop out and receive their earnest money, and the house goes back on the market. 

However, if the buyer discovers something he/she didn’t like after the agreed upon deadline, the seller often has the choice to refund the earnest money or not.


The buyer will usually have the opportunity to determine the length of the home inspection contingency. In a normal transaction, it’s typical for the inspection contingency to last 5-7 days from the date the contract was signed (also known as the date of ratification). 

However, in a more competitive scenario, it’s common to see the home inspection contingency last just 2-4 days, as the shorter timeline is more attractive to the seller. 


2. Title Review Escrow Deadline for Earnest Money

This is the deadline for the seller to disclose any documents or issues pertaining to the ownership and use of the property known by the seller but not in public record (for example: a lease or easement).

If the title review deadline draws near and the home is not proven to legally belong to the self-proclaimed owner, the buyer can reclaim their good faith money.


This deadline is followed by the title resolution deadline – the date by which all issues related to title objections must be resolved. If there are any clouds on the title or if the title is defective, this deadline could be extended up to the date of closing.


3. Loan Contingency Escrow Deadline for Earnest Money

The loan contingency deadline is often the last deadline set up by the buyer and seller because it usually takes the longest to secure a loan. It also happens to be where earnest money becomes non-refundable, because the seller has been relying on your “good faith” up until the loan approval. 

This is often where the legal line is drawn and sellers can decide to legally withhold the money.


A contingency period typically lasts anywhere between 30 and 60 days. If the buyer isn’t able to get a mortgage within the agreed time, then the seller can choose to cancel the contract and find another buyer. 

This timeframe may be important if you encounter a delay in getting financed.


Don’t Miss an Escrow Deadline With New Venture Escrow


The home buying process can be lengthy, stressful and confusing. Luckily, New Venture Escrow is here to help guide you through every step of the way. 

Our experienced team of escrow officers want to make the escrow process as easy and quick as possible. With our VentureTrac 4.0 app, you’ll be able to track your escrow process in real time and sign documents electronically to move the process along. 


Ready to get started? Contact us today and make your dream home a reality!

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