Escrow Basics

If you are buying a home, you may have heard the term “escrow”. Simply put, you can think of escrow as a central station for making sure all the terms of the transaction are met. The escrow officer makes sure all paperwork is collected and distributed to all parties who have an interest in the transaction as well as making sure all funds and activities are taken care of in a timely fashion.

Buyers and sellers will both receive communication from the escrow officer during the transaction, so be prepared to communicate with this party as well as with me and your other transaction team members.

Once an offer is accepted by both parties, the purchase and sale paperwork is submitted to escrow along with your earnest money. Escrow will begin their lengthy list of “to dos” which will likely include:

Making sure contingencies are satisfied such as inspection, financing, or sale of another home.


Making sure buyer and seller signs off on forms such as seller disclosure.

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Working with “Title Officers” to make sure that the seller has a legal right to sell the property and there are no others who may have an interest in the property. Occasionally there are liens taken on the property by parties such as local municipalities, contractors, and the IRS. Debts to these parties must be satisfied on or before the sale.


Making sure the buyers receive a copy of the “Title Report” which will indicate any easements and identify any parties who may be granted ongoing access to the property.


Making sure that other benchmarks are reached such as the septic and well inspection.

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Making sure all the necessary paperwork is signed by the buyer including loan documents as applicable.


It is important to respond to any requests from your escrow officer in a timely manner else the transaction may be delayed. There are many other steps as every transaction is unique! We will guide you through and your escrow officer will prep you on what to expect.