Back to Table of Contents

The Functions of an Escrow

Buying or selling a home (or other piece of real property) usually involves the transfer of large sums of money. It is imperative that the transfer of these funds and related documents from one party to another be handled in a neutral, secure and knowledgeable manner. For the protection of buyer, seller and lender, the escrow process was developed.

As a buyer or seller, you want to be certain all conditions of sale have been met before property and money change hands. The technical definition of an escrow is a transaction where one party engaged in the sale, transfer or lease of real or personal property with another person delivers a written instrument, money or other items of value to a neutral third person, called an escrow agent or escrow holder. This third person holds the money or items for disbursement upon the happening of a specified event or the performance of a specified condition.

Simply stated, the escrow holder impartially carries out the written instructions given by the principals. This includes receiving funds and documents necessary to comply with those instructions, completing or obtaining required forms and handling final delivery of all items to the proper parties upon the successful completion of the escrow.

The escrow must be provided with the necessary information to close the transaction. This may include loan documents, tax statements, fire and other insurance policies, title insurance policies, terms of sale and any seller-assisted financing, and requests for payment for various services to be paid out of escrow funds.

If the transaction is dependent on arranging new financing, it is the buyer’s or the buyer’s agent’s responsibility to make the necessary arrangements. Documentation of the new loan agreement must be in the hands of the escrow holder before the transfer of property can take place. A real estate agent can help identify appropriate lending institutions.

When all the instructions in the escrow have been carried out, the closing can take place. At this time, all outstanding funds are collected and fees- such as title insurance premiums, real estate commissions, termite inspection charges- are paid. Title to the property is then transferred under the terms of the escrow instructions and appropriate title insurance is issued.

Payment of funds at the close of escrow should be in the form acceptable to the escrow, since out-of-town and personal checks can cause days of delay in processing the transaction.

The following items represent a typical list of what an escrow holder does and does not do:

THE ESCROW HOLDER:

  • serves as the neutral “stakeholder” and the communications link to all parties in the transaction;
  • prepares escrow instructions;
  • requests a preliminary title search to determine the present condition of title to the property;
  • requests a beneficiary’s statement if debt or obligation is to be taken over by the buyer;
  • complies with lender’s requirements, specified in the escrow agreement;
  • receives purchase funds from the buyer;
  • prepares or secures the deed or other documents related to escrow;
  • prorates taxes, interest, insurance and rents according to instructions;
  • secures releases of all contingencies or other conditions as imposed on any particular escrow;
  • records deeds and any other documents as instructed;
  • requests issuance of the title insurance policy;
  • closes escrow when all the instructions of buyer and seller have been carried out;
  • disburses funds as authorized by instructions, including charges for title insurance, recording fees, real estate commissions and loan payoffs;
  • prepares final statements for the parties accounting for the disposition of all funds deposited in escrow (these are useful in the preparation of tax returns).

THE ESCROW HOLDER DOES NOT:

  • offer legal advice;
  • negotiate the transaction;
  • offer investment advice.

Your local title company should be happy to provide additional information.

Article by CLTA

Back to Table of Contents

Thank you for visiting today. If this is your first visit, take your time and look around. We have plenty of information and resources available to you. If you are a return visitor, thank you. We would love to hear from you and tell you how we can serve all your real estate needs.

Tom Scrocco And Randy Isaacs
Realtor - Associates
Coldwell Banker Sunset Strip
 PLEASE CALL US ANYTIME:
310-259-7355 and 310-435-1494

RandyAndTomHomes@gmail.com
BRE: 01245433, BRE: 01252713

Testimonials

From our first meeting Tom and Randy presented a perfect combination of professionalism and personal warmth. Their knowledge of the real estate business is comprehensive, and their concern for my particular needs was exemplary. They guided me through the entire process in language that made things clear to me, and through the entire process to the closing of escrow were available with expert advice and instructions. I cannot recommend them highly enough. C. Steven Smith, Producer
Randy and Tom- “It was a pleasure doing business with you. You made a difficult situation easy and painless! And we couldn't be happier with the price you obtained. Very good job!! We've already recommended you once and will certainly do it again. You were professional, caring, understanding and supportive. We thank YOU from the bottom of OUR hearts! Thank you for getting the best deal for us, including the 60 day stay. We could not have asked for more!” David and Rachelle, Producer
Tom/Randy/Cameron: Thank you all for handling the sale of my parents house in such a professional manner. The Escrow went extremely smoothly without any hitches at all. The personalized attention and advice I got throughout the entire process was second to none.You guys truly are the best. When the time comes for me to sell my own property, I will definitely know who to call. A special thanks to Randy for listening to and working with me through all the “family drama” regarding the sale. Thanks again. Cheryl Marlowe, Traffic Manager KTLA
Tom and Randy...Thank you for the BRILLIANT job you did selling our duplex!...You two possess a unique combination of razor-sharp professionalism and comforting human warmth. You were the best advocates anyone could ever want, and you obtained a better sale than we could ever have imagined. Kristin and Patrick
When we decided to sell our house we met with several real estate agents and it was clear from our first meeting that Randy and Tom were the right choice. They were professional, courteous, and extremely familiar with the local real estate market. During our time working with them on selling our house we found them to be honest, reliable, informative, persistent and always professional. We would use them again in a heartbeat and highly recommend them to anyone looking for a professional real estate partner. Megan Riley Grant, Executive Producer Monster, Andrew Grant, Writer
View All