Q: When a property is termed “conventional” in the local multiple listing service, is this based on the type of loan the buyer must ascertain?

And is 20 percent in cash required for a down payment?

Does the down payment have anything to do with how much earnest money you put down as a show of good faith when you put forth the contract?

A: You are not required to put down any specific amount of cash on a down payment. The earnest money given in good faith is simply that — a show of good faith. You need to put down enough to give the seller the idea that you’re serious. In some cases, it’s $1,000, in other cases, it’s $50,000 or even 10 percent of the purchase price.

Your agent should be able to advise you on what is customary for your area. But since most of major metropolitan markets currently favor the buyer, and sellers are desperate to sell in many cases, they may settle for a modest earnest money deposit. But the less money you put down, the more nervous the seller will be that you might not have the will or the means to go through with the purchase of the property.

Aug. 22, 2007.