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Ruth Mills Team

San Diego Realtor
Ruth Mills

Welcome to the Ruth Mills Team website FAQ section, where we try to answer some of the questions most asked by our clients. If the information to the right does not provide a satisfactory answer to your question,
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More Frequently Asked Questions

Real Estate 101

What is escrow?

According Heritage Escrow, "an escrow is the deposit of funds and/or documents with an impartial neutral third party for delivery upon the specific terms and conditions."

Who needs escrow?

You do! Buyers, sellers, lenders and borrowers all have a vested interest in making sure that funds and documents will only change hands once every condition of your transaction has been met. It is the escrow holders obligation to safeguard funds and documents, disbursing funds and conveying title only when provisions of the escrow have been completely fulfilled.

Who chooses the escrow holder?

The escrow holder is usually chosen by agreement between the principals. A real estate broker may make a recommendation, but the principals are ultimately responsible for the decision. It is illegal for referral fees to be paid between real estate brokers and escrow companies.

What do I have to do during escrow?

Your most important job is to make sure you understand your escrow instructions. As questions about anything you're unsure about in terms of the instructions, but keep in mind that your escrow officer cannot offer advice about legal or financial issues regarding your transaction. The second most important thing to do is to follow your instructions quickly and completely. If needed, make sure to provide "good" funds into the escrow account. Personal checks will add additional time to the process. Finally, be sure to let your escrow officer know as soon as possible about any special needs you might have. Communication is the key to a successful escrow!

Should I sign loan documents during escrow?

Some lenders forward their loan docs to escrow for you to sign. If you choose to do so, make sure you are familiar with the process, terms and conditions of the loan since your escrow officer cannot explain or interpret the lender's documents for you. You may also request a representative from your lender to be present to answer questions at signing, or you can choose to sign loan docs at the lender's office.

What is an escrow closing statement?

A closing statement is a written account of the charges and credits to your account at the time of escrow. Be sure to review your closing papers carefully and ask your escrow officer if you have any questions about the information in them. Save your closing statement for your accountant and for taxes.

Can an escrow be cancelled?

Yes, an escrow can be cancelled if a contingency cannot be met or if the parties should disagree during the process. In cases of cancellation, funds on deposit can usually not be released until the escrow holder is in receipt of cancellation instructions that have been mutually agreed upon by both parties. You may be charged a cancellation fee, as well. Ask your escrow company about their policies. Escrow officers cannot mediate cancellation disputes. If necessary, the escrow holder may allow a court to decide which party is entitled to disputed funds. This is called an interpleader action.

This information is provided as a service. As every situation varies, it is strongly advised to seek counsel from independent tax advisors, tax attorneys, and/or CPAs.