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Escrow: An escrow holder is used to assure your home closes on time and the closing process goes smoothly. When money is held by a third party in a transaction between a buyer and a seller, it's in escrow. For example, in a Web transaction, PayPal is the reliable third party that holds the buyer's funds, and then disburses the funds to the seller.

The escrow company makes sure that the terms and conditions of the agreement between the sellers and the buyers are performed in preparation of the sale being finalized.

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

  • 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
  • Terms of sale and any seller-assisted financing

Closing on the home happens when the steps of the escrow are finished. At this time, all payments and fees for inspections, title insurance and real estate commissions are collected. Title to the property is then given to you as now current homeowner and correct title insurance is issued as outlined in the escrow instructions.

The escrow agent gets a payment when the closing is complete. You'll know when it's time to submit the form of payment.

The Escrow Holder Will:

  • Assemble escrow guidelines
  • Request title research
  • Meet the bank's standards as noted in the escrow agreement
  • Receive funds from the buyer
  • Prorate interest, insurance, tax and other payments according to instructions
  • Record deeds and other paperwork as instructed
  • Request title insurance policy
  • Close escrow when all instructions of seller and buyer have been met
  • Disburse payments and finalize instructions

The Escrow Holder Will Not:

  • Give advice - the escrow agent stays a neutral, third-party status
  • Offer opinions about the outcome of your taxes
The Escrow Holder Will:
The Escrow Holder Won't:
  • Write escrow guidelines
  • Request title inquiry
  • Comply with the bank's guidelines as specified in the escrow agreement
  • Receive funds 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 instructions of seller and buyer have been finished
  • Disburse funds and finish instructions
  • Offer advice - the escrow company must stay at a fair, third-party status
  • Dispense opinions about future tax estimations

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 ABCs of the escrow process down, you can be a more assured buyer.