What is Escrow?
Escrow is the depositing of funds and documents by the parties to a transaction with an impartial or neutral third party.
It takes orders from sellers, buyers, lenders, inspectors and others setting out the terms and conditions under which further delivery is to be made.
Many escrows are done through title companies which provide reports and title insurance.
The Purpose of Escrow
Escrow enables the parties in a real estate transaction to reduce the risk.
The Escrow Holder Acts as:
- A custodian for funds and documents.
- A clearing house for payments of all demands.
- An agency to perform the clerical details for the settlement of accounts between parties.
What is a Preliminary Report?
The preliminary report shows the ownership of a specific parcel of land and lists title defects, liens and encumbrances.
There may also be recorded restrictions which have been placed in a prior deed or contained in what are termed CC&Rs - covenants, conditions and restrictions.
A report is ordered after escrow is opened and provides the buyer the opportunity to seek the removal of items which are objectionable, prior to purchase.
What is a Policy of Title Insurance?
Title insurance is real estate ownership insurance or an insured statement of the condition of "title" of a particular piece of property.
It insures your rights and interests in order to protect you against claims.
Title polices are issued to both the buyer and the lender.
All Lenders Require Title Insurance.
The two most common forms of title insurance are the CLTA standard coverage policy and the ALTA loan extended coverage policy.
Both the buyers and sellers are charged fees.
Who pays for what varies in different areas or counties.
Even though different areas have typical standards, everything is negotiable.
Escrow Officer's Responsibilities
- Reviews preliminary report
- Provides copies of preliminary report to all parties
- Receives and prepares seller's & buyer's escrow instructions
- Receives buyer's funds for escrow
- Arranges hazard insurance with buyer
- Complies with lender's instructions
- Arranges new loan funding with lender
- Prepares documents and special instructions
- Records documents with county recorder
- Disburses monies and documents to the appropriate parties
- Prepares final closing statements for buyers and sellers
- Issues title insurance policy.
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