What is an Escrow? The escrow is the process of havinga neutral party manage the exchange of money for real property. The escrow holder is known as an escrow or settlement officer or agent. The buyer deposits funds and the seller deposits a deed with the escrow holder along with other documents required to remove all “contingencies” (conditions and approvals) in the purchase agreement prior to closing
How is an Escrow Opened? Once a purchase agreement is signed by all necessary parties, the agent representing the party who will pay the fee selects an escrow holder and the buyer’s earnest money deposit and contract are submitted to the escrow holder. From this point, the escrow holder will follow the manual written instructions of the buyer and seller, maintaining a neutral stance to ensure that neither party has an unfair advantage over the other. The escrow holder also follows the instructions of the Buyer’s new lender, the seller’s existing lender, and both parties’ agents. The escrow holder ensures the transparency of the transaction, while carefully maintaining the privacy of consumers.
What things will the escrow officer do?
> Open escrow and, if instructed to do so, deposit your good faith funds in a separate escrow account
> Order a title search to determine ownership and status of the subject real property
> Issue a preliminary report and begin the process of eliminating the title exceptions you and your lender are not willing to take title subject to
> Request payoff information for the seller’s loans, other liens, homeowner’s association fees, etc.
> Coordinate with the buyer’s lender on the preparation of the Closing Disclosure (CD)
> Prorate fees, such as real property taxes, per the contract, and prepare the settlement statement
> Set separate appointments allowing the seller and you to sign documents and deposit funds
> Review documents ensuring all conditions and legal requirements are fulfilled; request funds from lender
> When all funds are deposited, record documents with the County Recorder’s Office to transfer the subject real property to you
> After the recordation is confirmed, close escrow and disburse funds, including Seller’s proceeds, loan payoffs, etc.
> Prepare and send final documents to all parties involved