Frequently Aksed QUESTIONS
- An escrow is: an arrangement made under contractual provisions between transacting parties, whereby an independent trusted third party receives and disburses money and/or documents for the transacting parties, with the timing of such disbursement by the third party dependent on the fulfillment of contractually-agreed conditions by the transacting parties, or
- an account established by a broker, under the provisions of license law, for the purpose of holding funds on behalf of the broker’s principal or some other person until the consummation or termination of a transaction;or,
- a trust account held in the borrower’s name to pay obligations such as property taxes and insurance premiums.
The word derives from the Old French word escroue, meaning a scrap of paper or a roll of parchment; this indicated the deed that a third party held until a transaction was completed.
A typical escrow involves five primary parties: a buyer, seller, lender, borrower and escrow officer.
During the escrow process, the escrow officer will carry out instructions dictated by the parties. These steps can include any of the following and are unique to each home:
- Order title search
- Request demands and/or beneficiary statements
- Accept structural pest control report and other reports
- Accept new loan instructions and documents
- Accept fire insurance policies and complete settlement
- Request closing funds
- Audit file in preparation for closing
- Order recording
With the hundreds of options out there, picking a valuable escrow partner can make the difference between a smooth contract or a delayed process costing you and your client thousands.
It’s critical that you research potential escrow partners with criteria in mind. Here is what we recommend you judge your potential escrow partner on:
The best escrow partner is someone who can serve as a completely neutral third party, with no ties to real estate companies or mortgage firms that might influence their actions. You should always ask more questions about “in house escrow” or shared ownership arrangements.
The California Department of Business Oversight can verify if an escrow agent is truly independent (meaning the individual and his or her company has “met and satisfied all of the licensing requirements” set forth by California escrow law).
The Right Experience and Resources
At the very least, you want an escrow partner who has substantial experience in this field. It is recommended that you make a quick call to review experience and make sure there is a good personality fit with your escrow team.
Beyond that, it’s important to learn about their distinctive value proposition and whether they have the resources to meet your specific needs. The most qualified escrow partner will use technology to make things easier for you, including:
- E-Signatures – Sending documents to you via email with the option of using a digital signature.
- Digital Storage – Using a paperless system for quick and easy access to information in your file.
- Security & Cloud Technology – Servers and files stored in the cloud and monitored around the clock by a qualified data security provider.
- If Cost is Important, Compare – Any escrow partner worth checking out will be happy to provide an estimate of the costs involved in selling your house, including title insurance, escrow services, etc., so there are no surprises down the road.
On average, escrow lasts between 30 – 45 days. This is dependent on many factors, but most importantly the swift collection of critical documents and timely processing from all parties involved (e.g. buyer, seller, real estate agent, loan officer, etc.)
Yes! Choosing an escrow officer is much like choosing your real estate agent. Get several referrals from trusted sources and then compare services, cost and convenience.
Escrow begins when a seller accepts a buyer’s offer and an escrow agent or company is selected. It’s important the escrow officer educates the real estate agent and clients on important steps during escrow—especially steps that require client involvement and time.
Contact us today to meet with an escrow officer and learn about some of our unique offerings:
- VentureTrac – our proprietary mobile app that speeds up escrow
- Errors & Omissions Policy for Sellers – six month protection for sellers for every escrow opened with New Venture Escrow
619.327.2288 | firstname.lastname@example.org