Originally Posted by miatapaul
Yes, this is the one place that a broker is really handy, as they keep the deposit. (traditionally don't even cash the check) When dealing with a direct seller, you have to trust they will give deposit back. If the survey comes back with deal breaker problems. Or even if the seller sells it to someone else.
There are third-party escrow companies throughout the country, which will hold and disburse funds and documents for parties to a contract for a fraction of the cost of a broker.