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First, a little about "escrow". To close the sale of a place, a neutral, third party (the escrow company) is engaged to assure the transaction will close properly and on time. When payment is held by a third party in a transaction between a buyer and a seller, it's in escrow. PayPal is a good example of an escrow company.

The escrow agent makes sure that the terms and conditions of the agreement between the two parties are completed prior to the sale being finalized.

The certificates the escrow agent may obtain include:

  • 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 portions of the escrow, closing can take place. At this time, all payments and fees for inspections, title insurance and real estate commissions are paid out. You'll then get the title to the house and the title insurance gets dispersed as agreed upon in the escrow instructions.

At the close of escrow, payment of funds shall be made 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
  • Request title search
  • Meet lender's standards as outlined in the escrow agreement
  • Intake 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 instructions of seller and buyer have been met
  • Disburse monies and finalize instructions

The Escrow Holder Won't:

  • Tell you what's best - the escrow holder must stay at a fair, third-party status
  • Give insight about the outcome of your taxes
The Escrow Holder Will:
The Escrow Holder Won't:
  • Assemble escrow guidelines
  • Perform a title search
  • Meet the bank's guidelines as noted in the escrow agreement
  • Receive funds from the buyer
  • Prorate interest, insurance, tax 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 monies and finish instructions
  • Give advice - the escrow holder must stay at a fair, third-party status
  • Offer 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. Generally, the Escrow Account is partially funded at closing and the home buyer makes on-going contributions through their monthly mortgage payment.

This is a easy to understand guide about the escrow process. Your specific methods may be slightly different based on your lender and your escrow holder.