Details on escrow accounts (from the basics to escrow administration) and earnest money, as well as information on escrow fraud.


NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require the member's nar.realtor login.

10 Ways to Lose Your Earnest Money Deposit

  1. Failing to Meet Deadlines
  2. Getting Caught Up in a Bidding War
  3. Agreeing to a Non-Refundable Earnest Money Deposit
  4. Waiving Contingencies Prematurely
  5. Failing to Do Due Diligence
  6. Failing to Understand As-Is Buying
  7. Voiding a Contract Without a Refund
  8. Deciding the Home Isn’t “The One”
  9. Developing “FOMO” Over Another Home
  10. Bailing on a Transaction for Personal Reasons

Source: 10 Ways to Lose Your Earnest Money Deposit (Endpoint, Feb. 3, 2021)

Escrow Accounts and Administration

Types of Escrow Accounts (The Balance, Apr. 30, 2021)

What is Escrow? (The Balance, Apr. 25, 2021)

Clearing Up the Confusion on Real Estate Escrow Accounts (The Washington Post, Mar. 31, 2021)

Understanding the Escrow Process and Requirements (Investopedia, Jun. 22, 2020)

Money Issues After a Failed Sale (REALTOR® Magazine, May-Jun., 2020)

What is Escrow? How it Keeps Home Buyers and Sellers Safe (realtor.com®, Feb. 20, 2019)

Earnest Money Deposits

How to Talk to Homebuyers About Digital Earnest Payments (RIS Media, May 6, 2021)

The Guide to Earnest Money (Yahoo! News, May 4, 2021)

Shopping for a Home? Be Ready to Make an Earnest Money Deposit (The Ascent, Apr. 15, 2021)

Becoming a Digital Earnest Money Addict (Houston Agent Magazine, Mar. 3, 2021)

Earnest Money (Investopedia, Feb. 24, 2021)

Earnnest Now Available at Berkshire Hathaway, HomeServices Michigan Real Estate, Northern Indiana Real Estate, Tomie Raines REALTORS®, and Executive Realty (RIS Media, Jun. 19, 2020)

Earnest Money: A Primer for New Agents (REALTOR® Magazine, Jan. 9, 2020)

What is Earnest Money and How Much Should a Buyer Pay? (OVM Financial, Jan. 22, 2019)

Escrow Fraud and Real Estate

Former Mortgage Company President Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges (Oklahoma’s News 4, May 12, 2021)

Mortgage Official Charged with Financial Fraud (The Journal Record, Jun. 3, 2020)

Mortgage Escrow Fraud: What Homebuyers Need to Know (Bankrate, Feb. 24, 2020)

Real Estate Wire Fraud Is Real—and It Almost Happened to Me (Forbes, May 7, 2019)

The National Money Laundering Risk Assessment (National Association of REALTORS®, Feb. 11, 2019)

Case Summaries - Escrow Mishandling

Nationstar Mortgage Agrees to $91 Million Settlement for Mishandling Foreclosures and Borrowers’ Payments (The Washington Post, Dec. 8, 2020)

In German Tech Giants’ Fall, Charges of Lies, Spies, and Missing Billions (The New York Times, Jun. 26, 2020)

Citibank to Pay $7.8M to settle Escrow Account Complaints (REALTOR® Magazine, Jun. 24, 2019)

Coldwell Banker Sues for Unpaid Commission on $26M Coral Gables Auction Sale (The Real Deal, Jun. 6, 2019)

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

American Mortgage - Everything You Need to Know About Purchasing and Financing A Home (eBook)

Busted - Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown (Audiobook)

Chain of Blame - How Wall Street Caused the Mortgage and Credit Crisis (eBook)

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Mortgages (eBook)

Decoding the New Mortgage Market (eBook)

Fast Track Your Mortgage (eBook)

How to Save Thousands of Dollars on Your Home Mortgage (eBook)

How to Sell a House When It is Worth Less than the Mortgage (eBook)

Insider Secrets to Financing Your Real Estate Investments (eBook)

The Insider's Guide to Home Equity Borrowing (eBook)

An Insider's Guide to Refinancing Your Mortgage (eBook)

The Little Black Book of Wealth Building Mortgage Secrets (eBook)

The Mortgage Answer Book - Choosing the Right Loan for You (eBook)

The Mortgage Encyclopedia (eBook)

Mortgage Myths - 77 Secrets that will Save You Thousands on Home Financing (eBook)

Mortages 101 (eBook)

The new rules for mortgages (eBook)

The Pocket Mortgage Guide (eBook)

Reverse Mortgages for Dummies (eBook)

Salomon Smith Barney Guide to Mortgage-Backed and Asset-Backed Securities (eBook)

Have an idea for a real estate topic? Send us your suggestions.

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