Understanding the Escrow Process

An escrow is a process wherein the Buyer and Seller deposit written instructions, documents, and funds with a neutral third party until certain conditions are fulfilled. It enables the parties to the escrow to deal with each other without risk, provides an accounting of all the funds deposited in the escrow, and provides the Buyer and the Seller with a settlement statement. In a real estate transaction, the Buyer does not pay the Seller directly for the property. The Buyer deposits the funds to an escrow holder.

The escrow holder, acting as a neutral third party, verifies that a title insurance policy can be issued pursuant to the terms of the contract. Then, the escrow holder arranges for the documents transferring title to the property to the Buyer to be recorded, for the issuance of the title policy, pays any liens and all the costs associated with the sale that are chargeable to the Buyer and Seller, and disburses the sales proceeds to the Seller. If the Buyer gets a new loan, then the lender’s money is deposited into the escrow and the lender’s security documents are recorded at the same time as the deed.