Earnest Deposit / Down Payment

By: Ryan Renner, Realtor

I've guided many Omaha families through the new construction process. If you are considering buying or building a new home, please reach out. I look out for your best interests, not the builders.


How much money do you need to put down to purchase a new home in Omaha?

Do you really need 20% down to purchase a home?

In this article, we will look at what local builders expect as an earnest deposit and how much you need at closing to purchase a new construction home.

Difference Between Earnest Deposit and Down Payment

Terms like earnest deposit, down payment, and due at closing get thrown around. But, there are some significant differences in these phrases.

It’s important to understand what they are and when the money is due during the building process.

Earnest Deposit

The earnest deposit is a check you will write when you get the new construction home under contract. The amount required by each builder varies. I created a list below of what some of the prominent builders in Omaha require.

The earnest deposit is usually paid directly to the builder, and it is generally non-refundable.

So if you back out of the contract, you won’t get your money back (and you might be responsible for additional money/damages).

Earnest Deposit Requirements with Omaha Builders

Here is a list of some of the earnest deposit requirements for builders in the Omaha area. These numbers can change. And it can also vary based on the customizations you make.

The builders below don’t do fully custom homes - they have existing floor plans that you choose from and can make limited customizations.

DR Horton requires a $1,000 earnest deposit.

Celebrity Homes requires a $2,000 earnest deposit for homes under construction. If you start construction from the lot stage, the deposit can increase based on certain add-ons, such as finishing the basement, certain flooring choices, and additional garage space.

Legacy Homes requires a $5,000 earnest deposit.

Richland Homes requires a $5,000 earnest deposit. The initial $2,500 allows the lot and floor plan to be taken off the market. Once the plans and selections are finalized, the other $2,500 is due.

The Home Company requires a $5,000 earnest deposit. The first $2,500 is due when the contract is signed, and the rest is due when the house is framed.

Earnest Deposit for Fully Custom Homes

If you choose to build a fully custom home, you may be expected to put a lot more down to start the process.

Some builders may require an initial deposit of 1%-5% of the purchase price. They may also require additional deposits during different stages of the building process.

The earnest deposit amount may also be based on who is responsible for the new construction loan.