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Let's talk about "escrow". When you're closing on your new home, a neutral, third party (known as the escrow holder or the escrow agent) is used to make sure the transaction will close properly and on time. Escrow agents hold money for "safe-keeping" in a deal between a buyer and seller. For example, in a Web purchase, PayPal is the neutral third party that holds the buyer's funds, and then hands over the funds to the seller.

The escrow holder makes sure that all terms and conditions of the seller's and buyer's agreement are completed prior to the sale being completed. This includes securing funds and paperwork, finishing required forms, and obtaining the release documents for any loans or liens that are to be cleared with the transaction, assuring you have a clean title to your home before the negotiated price is fully paid.

The documents the escrow company may secure include:

  • Terms of sale and any seller-assisted financing
  • Requests for payment for various services to be paid out of escrow funds
  • Loan documents
  • Tax statements
  • Fire and other insurance policies
  • Title insurance policies

Upon completion of all instructions of the escrow, closing can take place. All expenses like title insurance, inspections and real estate commissions are paid. Title to the home is then given to you as buyer and appropriate title insurance is issued as outlined in the escrow instructions.

At the close of escrow, fees are paid in an acceptable form to the escrow. I'll keep you updated on what comes next.

The Escrow Holder Will:

  • Prepare escrow guidelines
  • Request title search
  • Comply with lender's standards as specified in the escrow agreement
  • Accept payments from the buyer
  • Prorate tax, interest, insurance and other fees according to instructions
  • Record deeds and other documents as instructed
  • Obtain title insurance policy
  • Close escrow when all terms of agreement of seller and buyer are met
  • Disburse funds and finalize instructions

The Escrow Holder Won't:

  • Tell you what's best - the escrow agent has to remain an impartial, third-party status
  • Give insight about tax implications
The Escrow Holder Will:
The Escrow Holder Won't:
  • Write escrow guidelines
  • Petition title research
  • Meet the bank's requirements as specified in the escrow agreement
  • Intake payments from the buyer
  • Prorate tax, interest, insurance and other fees according to guidelines
  • Record deeds and other legal documents as instructed
  • Obtain title insurance policy
  • Close escrow when all instructions of seller and buyer have been met
  • Disburse funds and finish instructions
  • Tell you what's best - the escrow holder stays at an impartial, third-party status
  • Dispense opinions about future tax estimations

Mortgage Escrow Account

A Mortgage Escrow Account is used to pay on-going expenses while there is a loan on the house. Though most home buyers make payments via their monthly mortgage payment, Escrow Accounts are deposited into at closing as well.

This is a simple outline of the escrow process. Your particular process could be different based on your bank and your escrow holder.

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