(1) Money that is placed in a bank or financial account. (2) Money put down by a potential buyer to show that a purchase offer is serious. Also called “earnest money,” it becomes part of the down payment if the offer is accepted. If the offer is rejected, it is returned. If the buyer pulls out of the deal, it is forfeited. During the contingency period, the money may be returned to the buyer if the contingencies are not met to the buyer’s satisfaction.