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First, a little about "escrow". An escrow agent is brought on to assure your home closes on time and the process goes smoothly. A house is said to be in escrow when in the closing transaction, money is secured by a third party on behalf of two parties (in this case, a buyer and a seller) when the transaction is taking place. PayPal is a simple way to think of an escrow company.

Settling the last details like obtaining funds, finishing forms, obtaining the documents for loans and liens, and assuring you get a clean title to the home prior to your purchase gets finalized are all parts of closing in which an escrow holder is useful.

These are the legal documents that escrow agents usually look to collect:

  • 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

You're ready to close when each step of the complete in escrow process. All outstanding payments and fees are collected and paid at this time (covering expenses such as title insurance, inspections, real estate commissions). The house's title gets handed over to you and title insurance begins per the policies of your particular escrow process.

When closing is completely finished, you'll make a payment to the escrow company. As your real estate professional, I'll let you know what is an acceptable way of paying.

The Escrow Holder Will:

  • Assemble escrow guidelines
  • Petition title search
  • Meet lender's guidelines as outlined in the escrow agreement
  • Accept payments from the buyer
  • Prorate tax, interest, insurance and other fees according to instructions
  • Record deeds and other paperwork as instructed
  • Obtain title insurance policy
  • Close escrow when all instructions of seller and buyer have been met
  • Disburse funds and finish instructions

The Escrow Holder Will Not:

  • Advise you - the escrow agent must stay at a fair, third-party status
  • Give insight about tax implications
The Escrow Holder Will:
The Escrow Holder Won't:
  • Write escrow guidelines
  • Perform a title search
  • Comply with lender's guidelines as specified in the escrow agreement
  • Intake payments from the buyer
  • Prorate interest, insurance, tax and other payments 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 monies and finish instructions
  • Advise you - the escrow company stays a neutral, third-party status
  • Give insight about tax implications

Mortgage Escrow Account

Often, to pay recurring costs while there's a loan on the house, a Mortgage Escrow Account is created. Though most home buyers make payments via their monthly mortgage payment, Escrow Accounts are deposited into at closing as well.

Once you have the basics of the escrow process down, you can be a more assured buyer.

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