Originally Posted by LookingForCruiser
The thought the real reason is that a deposit provides consideration. Without consideration (the buyer giving up something), there's not an enforceable contract - contracts aren't allowed to be one-sided. So if you want to hold the seller to his promise to sell to you the boat, you have to have provided something to the seller in exchange for that promise, in this case, a deposit.
So you are saying that the earnest money is actually a premium paid for a one month (or whatever the term) "option to buy" while the deal is negotiated and settled.
That makes more sense to me.