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The Functions of an Escrow

Buying or selling a home (or other piece of real property) usually involves the transfer of large sums of money. It is imperative that the transfer of these funds and related documents from one party to another be handled in a neutral, secure and knowledgeable manner. For the protection of buyer, seller and lender, the escrow process was developed.

As a buyer or seller, you want to be certain all conditions of sale have been met before property and money change hands. The technical definition of an escrow is a transaction where one party engaged in the sale, transfer or lease of real or personal property with another person delivers a written instrument, money or other items of value to a neutral third person, called an escrow agent or escrow holder. This third person holds the money or items for disbursement upon the happening of a specified event or the performance of a specified condition.

Simply stated, the escrow holder impartially carries out the written instructions given by the principals. This includes receiving funds and documents necessary to comply with those instructions, completing or obtaining required forms and handling final delivery of all items to the proper parties upon the successful completion of the escrow.

The escrow must be provided with the necessary information to close the transaction. This may include loan documents, tax statements, fire and other insurance policies, title insurance policies, terms of sale and any seller-assisted financing, and requests for payment for various services to be paid out of escrow funds.

If the transaction is dependent on arranging new financing, it is the buyer’s or the buyer’s agent’s responsibility to make the necessary arrangements. Documentation of the new loan agreement must be in the hands of the escrow holder before the transfer of property can take place. A real estate agent can help identify appropriate lending institutions.

When all the instructions in the escrow have been carried out, the closing can take place. At this time, all outstanding funds are collected and fees- such as title insurance premiums, real estate commissions, termite inspection charges- are paid. Title to the property is then transferred under the terms of the escrow instructions and appropriate title insurance is issued.

Payment of funds at the close of escrow should be in the form acceptable to the escrow, since out-of-town and personal checks can cause days of delay in processing the transaction.

The following items represent a typical list of what an escrow holder does and does not do:

THE ESCROW HOLDER:

  • serves as the neutral “stakeholder” and the communications link to all parties in the transaction;
  • prepares escrow instructions;
  • requests a preliminary title search to determine the present condition of title to the property;
  • requests a beneficiary’s statement if debt or obligation is to be taken over by the buyer;
  • complies with lender’s requirements, specified in the escrow agreement;
  • receives purchase funds from the buyer;
  • prepares or secures the deed or other documents related to escrow;
  • prorates taxes, interest, insurance and rents according to instructions;
  • secures releases of all contingencies or other conditions as imposed on any particular escrow;
  • records deeds and any other documents as instructed;
  • requests issuance of the title insurance policy;
  • closes escrow when all the instructions of buyer and seller have been carried out;
  • disburses funds as authorized by instructions, including charges for title insurance, recording fees, real estate commissions and loan payoffs;
  • prepares final statements for the parties accounting for the disposition of all funds deposited in escrow (these are useful in the preparation of tax returns).

THE ESCROW HOLDER DOES NOT:

  • offer legal advice;
  • negotiate the transaction;
  • offer investment advice.

Your local title company should be happy to provide additional information.

Article by CLTA

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COLONIAL REALTY INC.
1007 Skyway Hwy.
Atchison, KS 66002
Phone (913) 367-4464
Email: colonial@coloniallistings.com

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"Sharon was very helpful and persistent in selling my home. Sharon and Bob Hanf did an amazing job keeping me in the loop of what was happening with my property and stayed in contact even if there was nothing to report. I really appreciated the dedication and consideration I consistently received throughout my entire experience. I would highly recommend Sharon or Bob or any of the realtors at Colonial Realty over any other realtors for certain. #honest #forthcoming #diligent #persistent #trustworthy #followthrough" 4/4/2017 bretthuskamp
We would just like to take this opportunity to Thank Bob Hanif for helping us find our dream home here in Atchison. He was so helpful and kind and went above and beyond for us which is really refreshing these days. We would highly recommend him if you are looking for an Excellent Realtor and an all around honest Professional with a great work ethic that genuinely cares about what you are looking for and won't stop until you find the home or property that is amazing! 10/2/2016 The Banister Family
We bought and sold our first home through Colonial. We currently have our 2nd home we purchased through colonial. When the time comes, I am sure our 3rd home will be through colonial. We couldn't be happier. Thank you Sharon. 6/30/2016 Alice
Very knowledgeable and understanding to my needs. No pressure and made good on all he promised quickly responded to all questions. was more than willing to work around my schedule and my needs for appointment times. 08/23/2016 SAGE6060
What a wonderful experience buying a house! In a very short period, Bob showed us multiple homes and went above and beyond in providing honest and genuine input for a completely professional experience. Best realtor experience I've had!! 07/18/2016 peggystarr9
Kyle helped me sell my home August of last year. He was very professional and easy-going. He made the process a lot easier for me to understand. There was even an issue a day of closing, at no fault of his own, but he was able to solve the problem and close the house on time. I highly recommend him as an agent. Thanks again. 07/11/2016 RiswR1991
Our experience with Kyle was one we will always greatly appreciate. He went above and beyond to sell our home, and spent so much time helping us to buy the right home that fit our needs. We are certain that Kyle will be the next top agent in Atchison and other surrounding areas. Thanks Kyle!! Your the best!! 07/06/2016 csickler2
Kyle was my agent in closing two real estate purchases in the last year and was very efficient and professional. He guided me through the process each time, gave me tips, kept me appraised on the progress of the sale, answered any questions I had and was present at the closing. I would recommend him highly! 06/29/2016 mwalters1022
I would recommend Sharon Locke to anyone looking to buy or sell in Atchison. Sharon was our seller's agent on a recent transaction and she made the process very easy and successful. I appreciated her insight regarding staging our home and her knowledge of how to market the property at its best. Atchison is a difficult market for sellers, but we had over a dozen showings. After only 13 days on the market, we accepted a very good offer. I credit her expertise with making that happen. Throughout the process, Sharon fielded our many questions and helped guide us to closing. We appreciated her professionalism and attention to detail; nothing escaped her attention. From receiving an offer to closing day, she looked out for our interests and ensured that we had everything in order so we could close on another property the following day. In sum, I'm glad that we trusted Sharon with our real estate transaction. 05/25/2016 bobchilders9
She got me $2000 more in negotiations than I was going to settle for....I was anxious to sell and be rid of the property and she suggested I hang in and negotiate for a little more--and it turned out to be good advice. 04/08/2016 scraven14
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