An Independent Escrow Company

Life of an Escrow

Life of an Escrow

It all begins with the offer and acceptance skillfully negotiated by the real estate agents representing Buyer and Seller.

Sole Ownership

A man or woman who is not married.
Example: John Doe, a single man.
An Unmarried Man/Woman:
A man or woman, who having been married, is legally divorced.
Example: John Doe, an unmarried man.
A Married Man/Woman, as His/Her Sole and Separate Property:
When a married man or woman wishes to acquire title as their sole and separate property, the spouse must consent and relinquish all right, title and interest in the property by deed or other written agreement.
Example: John Doe, a married man, as his sole and separate property.


Accepts the new loan application and other related documents from the Buyer(s) and begins the qualification process.

Orders and reviews the property appraisal, credit report, verification of employment, verification of deposit(s), preliminary report and other related information.

Submit the entire package to the loan committee and/or underwriters for approval. When approved, loan conditions and title insurance requirements are established.

Informs Buyer(s) of loan approval terms, commitment expiration date and provides a good faith estimate of the closing costs.

Deposit the new loan documents and instructions with the settlement agent for Buyer’s approval and signature.

Reviews and approves the executed loan package and coordinates the loan funding with the escrow officer.

Concurrent Co-Ownership Interests

The comparison below is provided for information only, it should not be used to determine how you hold title. We highly recommend that you seek professional counsel from an attorney and/or CPA to determine the legal and tax consequences of how title is vested.

The Escrow Settlement Officer

Receive an order for escrow and title services.

Place order for the preliminary report or title commitment for the subject property from Fidelity National Title.

Acts as the impartial “stakeholder” or depository, in a fiduciary capacity, for all documents and monies required to complete the transaction per written instructions of the principals.

Prepare the escrow instructions and required documents in accordance with terms of the sale.

With the authorization from the real estate agent or principal, orders demands on existing deeds of trust and liens or judgments, if any. For assumption or subject to loan, orders the beneficiary’s statement or formal assumption package.

Reviews documents received in the escrow: preliminary report or title commitment, payoff or assumption statements, new loan package and other related instruments.

Review the conditions in the lender’s instructions including the hazard and title insurance requirements.

Present the documents, statements, loan package(s), estimated closing statements and other related documents to the principal(s) for approval and signature, and requests the balance of the buyer’s funds.

Receive the proceeds of the loan(s) from the lender(s).

Determines when the transaction will be in the position to close and advises the parties.

Assisted by title personnel, records the deed, deed of trust and other documents required to complete the transaction with the County Recorder and orders the title insurance policies. Depending on the property location, the recordation of the documents may occur after the closing date.

Close the transaction by preparing the final settlement statements, disbursing the proceeds to the Seller, paying off the existing encumbrances and other obligations.

Deliver the appropriate statements, funds and remaining documents to the principals, agents and/or lenders.

The Seller(s)

Accept Buyer’s Offer to Purchase and initial good faith deposit to open escrow.

Submit documents and information to escrow holder, such as: addresses of lien holders, tax receipts, equipment warranties, home warranty contracts, any leases and/or rental agreements.

Approves and signs the escrow instructions, grant deed and other related documents required to complete the transaction.

Orders inspections, receives clearances and approves final reports and/or repairs to the property as required by the terms of the purchase and sale agreement (Deposit Receipt).

Fulfills any remaining conditions specified in the contract and/or escrow instructions; approves the pay off demands and/or beneficiary’s statements.

Approve any final changes by signing amendments to the escrow instructions or contract.

Fidelity National Title

Receive an order for title service.

Examines the public records affecting the real property and issues a preliminary report or title commitment.

Determines the requirements and documents needed to complete the transaction and advises the escrow settlement officer and/or agents.

Reviews and approves the signed documents, releases and the order for title insurance, prior to the closing date.

Fidelity National Title records the signed documents with the County Recorder’s office and prepares to issue the title insurance policies.

What Each Party Does In Escrow

The Seller

The Seller:

Deposits the executed deed to the buyer with the settlement agent.
Deposits evidence of pest inspection and any required repair work, if applicable.
Deposits other required documents such as tax receipts, addresses of mortgage holders, any state or federal required documentation, etc.

The Buyer

The Buyer:

Deposits the funds required, in addition to any borrowed funds, to pay the purchase price with the settlement agent.
Deposits funds sufficient for home and title insurance.
Arranges for any borrowed funds to be delivered to the settlement agent.
Deposits any deed of trust or mortgages necessary to secure loans.
Approves any inspection reports, the Preliminary Report for title insurance, etc., called for by the purchase and sale agreements.
Fulfills any other conditions specified in the instructions.

The Lender

The Lender (if applicable):

Prepares loan document package for buyer/borrower.
Deposits proceeds of the loan with the settlement agent.
Directs the settlement agent on the conditions under which the loan funds may be used.

The Settlement Agent

The Settlement Agent:

Opens the order for title insurance.
Obtains approvals from the buyer on the Preliminary Report/ Title Commitment, pest and other inspections.
Receives funds from the buyer and/or any lender.
Prorates taxes, rents, etc.
Disburses funds for title insurance, recording fees, real estate commissions, lien clearance, etc.
Prepares an estimated statement or HUD settlement statement, as required, for each party, indicating amounts to be disbursed for services and any further amounts necessary to close.
Records deed and loan documents, delivers the deed to the buyer, loan documents to the lender and funds to the seller, closing the escrow.
Issues final closing statement/HUD settlement statement and forwards to buyer, seller and lender.

What is an Escrow?

An escrow is a deposit of funds, a deed, or other instrument by one party for the delivery to another party upon completion of a particular condition or event agreed upon by all parties to a transaction. We are a “neutral, third party agent for all the principals in a real estate transaction” who is entrusted with the safekeeping of the documents and funds until the contractual obligations of the principals (the Buyer and Seller) have been fulfilled.

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