What is an escrow deposit?

An escrow deposit is money put down to hold a contract to purchase real estate. The deposit should be given to a 3rd party such as a realty agent to hold. When you are attempting to purchase a business, you usually put up an 'earnest money deposit' to be placed in escrow. The deposit money does not belong to the seller. The last person you want to give it to, to hold onto until closing (settlement, passing of papers) is the seller! If the deal sours and the seller has already used the money ("Oh, he told you it would go into a special fund? It did...") it may be extremely difficult to get your deposit back. Perhaps in the seller's mind he thought it was his to keep. Give it to a third party to hold! If you are buying a FSBO (for sale by owner) give it to an escrow agent, escrow title company, attorney, or you can go to the bank and set up a special escrow account. (This may vary by state law. I just tried to put a deposit into it's own escrow account and the bank will not let 'escrow' be on the account as it implied they were the escrow agent and they want no liability or part of a dispute.)