What Is Escrow?
Escrow is a legal concept involving a third party who holds money or property in trust for two parties until all the conditions of the sale or transfer agreement are met. When it comes to real estate transactions, escrow is used for the closing process. It is a neutral third-party service provider responsible for securely and accurately facilitating the transfer of money and documents between the buyer and seller.
Why Is Escrow Used in Real Estate?
Real estate escrow is an important safeguard when it comes to buying a home. It is designed to ensure that all the conditions of a real estate sale or transfer agreement are met before the buyer takes possession of the property and the seller receives the payment.
In essence, real estate escrow is there to protect both the home buyer and seller. When both parties have agreed on the closing dates, the escrow agent takes possession of all the necessary documents, such as title reports, loan documents, and earnest money.
What Happens During the Escrow Process?
The escrow process provides a safe and secure transfer of money, documents, and properties. Here’s a quick summary of the process:
- Opening the Escrow Account: The buyer makes an initial deposit into the escrow account, which is typically held at a bank.
- Ordering Title Insurance: The escrow agent arranges for title insurance.
- Performing Closing Tasks: The closing tasks may include preparing closing statements, ordering property inspections, or transferring utilities.
- Signing the Closing Documents: The buyer and seller must sign the closing documents.
- Completing the Closing: The escrow agent will process the documents and disburse the funds.
Once all the paperwork and funds are in order, the escrow will close. Generally, this process takes 30 to 45 days, depending on how quickly all the documents are collected and submitted.
Real estate escrow is an important part of any real estate transaction. It is designed to protect both the buyer and the seller when entering into a real estate sale or transfer agreement. With an escrow account, the funds and documents will be held securely until all the conditions of the agreement are met, at which time the escrow agent will disburse the funds in accordance with the agreement.