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Completing the Transaction

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Escrow: To finish the sale of a home, a neutral, third party (the escrow holder) is employed to assure the transaction will close appropriately and on time. A home is said to be in escrow when in the closing process, payment is held by a third party on behalf of a buyer and a seller when the transaction is taking place. For example, in an online purchase, PayPal is the neutral third party that obtains the buyer's money, and then disburses the money to the seller.

The escrow holder insures that all terms and conditions of the seller's and buyer's contract are reached prior to the sale being completed. This includes receiving monies and records, filling out required forms, and obtaining the release documents for any loans or liens that were paid with the transaction, assuring you have a free title to your home before the asking price is fully paid.

The certificates the escrow holder may obtain include:

  • Fire and other insurance policies
  • Title insurance policies
  • 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

Upon completion of all portions of the escrow, closing can take place. All payments owed and fees are collected and paid off at this time (covering expenses such as title insurance, inspections, real estate commissions). You'll then obtain the title to the house and the title insurance gets issued as agreed upon in the escrow instructions.

At the close of escrow, fees are paid in an acceptable form to the escrow. You'll know when it's time to submit the form of payment.

The Escrow Holder Will:

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

The Escrow Holder Won't:

  • Tell you what's best - the escrow company stays a neutral, third-party status
  • Give insight about future tax estimations
The Escrow Holder Will:
The Escrow Holder Won't:
  • Assemble escrow guidelines
  • Request title inquiry
  • Meet the bank's standards as outlined in the escrow agreement
  • Accept funds from the buyer
  • Prorate tax, interest, insurance and other fees according to instructions
  • Record deeds and other paperwork as instructed
  • Request title insurance policy
  • Close escrow when all terms of agreement of seller and buyer have been met
  • Disburse monies and finish instructions
  • Give advice - the escrow agent stays a neutral, third-party status
  • Dispense opinions about the outcome of your taxes

Mortgage Escrow Account

Creating a Mortgage Escrow Account helps keep track of on-going expenses while there's a loan on your house. Escrow Accounts are contributed to monthly by the home buyer (who is now the homeowner), but there is also a lump sum that goes into the account at closing.

This is a simple outline of the escrow process. Your specific process could be different based on your lender and your escrow company.

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