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Escrow: When you're closing on your new home, an escrow agent is used to guarantee the transaction will close properly and in a timely manner. A property is said to be in escrow when in the closing transaction, money is secured by a third party on behalf of a buyer and a seller when the exchange of money takes place. PayPal is a good example of an escrow company.

The escrow agent insures that all terms and conditions of the seller's and buyer's agreement are performed prior to the sale being finalized. This includes receiving funds and records, completing required forms, and getting the release documents for any loans or liens that are to be paid with the transaction, assuring you have a clear title to your house before the agreed upon price is fully paid.

Escrow companies look for the following pieces of paperwork:

  • 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

Closing on the home happens when all of the procedures of the escrow are finished. All outstanding payments and fees are taken and paid at this time (covering expenses such as title insurance, inspections, real estate commissions). The property's title goes to you and title insurance begins per the steps of your particular escrow process.

When closing is completely finished, you'll make a payment to the escrow company. As your agent, I'll let you know what is an acceptable form of payment.

The Escrow Holder Will:

  • Assemble escrow guidelines
  • Perform a title inquiry
  • Comply with the bank's guidelines as written in the escrow agreement
  • Accept funds from the buyer
  • Prorate interest, insurance, tax and other payments 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 payments and finish instructions

The Escrow Holder Won't:

  • Tell you what's best - the escrow agent stays at an impartial, third-party status
  • Dispense opinions about tax implications
The Escrow Holder Will:
The Escrow Holder Won't:
  • Assemble escrow guidelines
  • Perform a title research
  • Meet lender's requirements as outlined in the escrow agreement
  • Receive payments from the buyer
  • Prorate insurance, tax, interest and other payments according to guidelines
  • Record deeds and other paperwork as instructed
  • Request title insurance policy
  • Close escrow when all terms of agreement of seller and buyer have been finished
  • Disburse payments and finalize instructions
  • Offer advice - the escrow agent stays at an impartial, third-party status
  • Dispense opinions 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're at ease with the escrow process, you can be a better buyer.

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