If I make a written offer complete with terms to buy a piece of real estate, there is the problem of how to draft the earnest money deposit.
In previous purchases of real estate I have made, what happens is that the amount was negotiated over the phone and the seller drew up the P&S and then when I went to the seller's realtor to sign it, I brought a bank check. In that case, I would have already been told who to have the check made out to. Since it is a bank check, I need to know that ahead of time.
Now, if I am making a written offer then it all changes because I am drafting the P&S and presenting it to the seller's agent. But in that case I have the problem of not knowing ahead of time who the earnest money check should be made out to. I see three possible options:
(1) When I visit the house for the first time, I can casually ask the agent who the earnest check should be made out to in the event I make an offer.
(2) I can put a rider on the P&S which warrants that the check will be delivered in a set amount of time like three days. The advantage of using a rider is that I can demand the name and bank account number of the escrow at the same time. In other words, the offer will have a separate sheet which says: "If you accept this offer, fill out and sign the form below" and the form has three blanks: name for check, name of bank holding escrow, account number of escrow.
(3) Call up and ask the agent before writing the P&S. So, in this method I would call the seller's agent and say "Hello, I am considering making an offer, who should the earnest money check be made out to?" The disadvantage of this method is that the seller gets forewarning that an offer is incoming, and also I will be in the dark as to where the money is going.