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First, a little about "escrow". A neutral, third party (known as the escrow holder or the escrow agent) is brought on to assure your house closes on time and the transaction goes smoothly. When payment is held by a third party in a transaction between a buyer and a seller, it's in escrow. PayPal is a simple way to think of an escrow company.

The escrow company makes sure that the terms and conditions of the agreement between the seller and buyer are met prior to the sale being completed.

Escrow companies want to obtain the following pieces of paperwork:

  • 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
  • Loan documents

Closing on the property happens when all of the procedures of the escrow are done. All expenses like title insurance, inspections and real estate commissions are paid. You'll then secure the title to the property and the title insurance gets dispersed as agreed upon in the escrow instructions.

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

The Escrow Holder Will:

  • Write escrow guidelines
  • Request title research
  • Meet the bank's guidelines as written in the escrow agreement
  • Intake payments from the buyer
  • Prorate insurance, tax, interest and other payments 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 are met
  • Disburse funds and finalize instructions

The Escrow Holder Will Not:

  • 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:
  • Write escrow guidelines
  • Perform a title research
  • Comply with the bank's standards as written in the escrow agreement
  • Accept payments from the buyer
  • Prorate tax, interest, insurance and other fees according to instructions
  • Record deeds and other legal documents as instructed
  • Obtain title insurance policy
  • Close escrow when all terms of agreement of seller and buyer are met
  • Disburse payments and finalize instructions
  • Advise you - the escrow company stays a neutral, third-party status
  • Give insight about tax implications

Mortgage Escrow Account

A Mortgage Escrow Account is established to pay on-going fees while there is a loan on the house. Usually, the home buyer makes a payment at closing and also makes regular deposits through their monthly mortgage payment to fund the Escrow Account.

Once you have the basics of the escrow process down, you can be a better buyer.

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