Escrow Process

What exactly is an escrow?

An escrow is an independent “stakeholder” account and is the vehicle by which the interests of all parties to the transaction are protected. Your escrow is created shortly after you execute your contract to purchase your home. The escrow becomes the depository for all monies, instructions and documents pertaining to the purchase of your home. Some aspects of the purchase are not part of the escrow. For example, the buyer and the seller must decide which fixtures or personal property items are included in the purchase. Similarly, loan negotiations are between the buyer and the lender. Your real estate agent can guide you in these non-escrow matters.


How does the escrow process work?

The escrow is a depository for all monies, instructions and documents necessary for the purchase of your home, including your funds for the down payment and your lender’s funds and documents for the new loan. The escrow officer takes instructions based on the terms of your purchase agreement and your lender’s requirements. The escrow officer can hold inspection reports and bills for work performed as required by your purchase agreement. Other elements of the escrow include hazard insurance, title insurance and the grant deed from the seller to you. Escrow cannot be completed until the instructions (requirements) have been satisfied, and all parties have signed escrow documents.


How do I open an escrow?

Your real estate agent will open the escrow for you. As soon as you execute your purchase agreement, your agent will place your initial deposit into an escrow account at CornerStone Title or into the real estate broker’s trust account.


How will I know where my money has gone?
Written evidence of your deposit is generally included in your copy of your purchase contract. Your funds will then be deposited in your separate escrow or trust account and processed through your local bank.


What information will I have to provide?

You may be asked to complete a statement of identity as part of the necessary paperwork. Because many people have the same name, the statement of identity is used to identify the specific person in the transaction through such information as date of birth, social security number, etc. This information is kept confidential.


How long is the escrow?
The length of an escrow is determined by the terms of the purchase agreement and can range from a few days to several months. An escrow often takes an average time of 30 to 45 days. Now that you have selected your home, executed your purchase agreement, made your purchase deposit and an escrow has been opened your next step is to apply for a mortgage loan. Your real estate agent will be able to assist you in selecting a lender.