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Let's talk about "escrow". To complete the sale of a home, a neutral, third party (the escrow company) is brought into the picture to assure the transaction will close properly and on time. When funds are held by a third party in a transaction between a buyer and a seller, it's in escrow. An easy way to think of what an escrow company does is to think of the use of PayPal for online purchases.

Tying up any loose ends like obtaining funds, completing forms, securing the documents for loans and liens, and assuring you get a clean title to the home in preparation of your purchase gets finalized are all parts of closing in which an escrow holder is useful.

Escrow holders collect the following records:

  • Loan documents
  • Tax statements
  • 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

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 property is then transferred to you as new owner and appropriate title insurance is issued as noted in the escrow policy.

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

The Escrow Holder Will:

  • Assemble escrow instructions
  • Petition title inquiry
  • Meet lender's requirements as outlined in the escrow agreement
  • Accept payments from the buyer
  • Prorate interest, insurance, tax and other payments according to instructions
  • Record deeds and other legal documents as instructed
  • Request title insurance policy
  • Close escrow when all instructions of seller and buyer are complete
  • Disburse monies and finish instructions

The Escrow Holder Will Not:

  • Offer advice - the escrow company stays at an impartial, third-party status
  • Offer opinions about the outcome of your taxes
The Escrow Holder Will:
The Escrow Holder Won't:
  • Assemble escrow instructions
  • Petition title inquiry
  • Meet lender's guidelines as outlined in the escrow agreement
  • Intake payments from the buyer
  • Prorate tax, interest, insurance and other fees according to instructions
  • Record deeds and other documents as instructed
  • Request title insurance policy
  • Close escrow when all terms of agreement of seller and buyer are complete
  • Disburse monies and finalize instructions
  • Offer advice - the escrow holder stays a neutral, third-party status
  • Give insight about the outcome of your taxes

Mortgage Escrow Account

A Mortgage Escrow Account is started to pay recurring fees 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 easy to understand guide about the escrow process. Your particular plan may be slightly different based on your lender and your escrow holder.

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