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STREAMLINING THE ESCROW/TITLE PROCESS

(The following is mostly for Real Estate Licensees but will be of interest to buyers and sellers)

Updated:         June 3, 2018

Too often, escrows are complicated or even delayed because a few details are either excluded or the original information provided is inaccurate. The processing of an escrow can be more efficient and the closing expedited via attention to the following details.

BASIC SELLER INFORMATION: Make sure to have the seller's name, present address and phone number. Confirm the spelling. The seller's forwarding address, if available, could be important at Close of Escrow (COE).

BASIC BUYER INFORMATION: Confirm the buyer's full name(s), including middle initials and/or names. The names should correspond to the name(s) under which the buyer's wish to take title. Acquire the buyer's current address (including zip code) and phone number (including area code).

BASIC PROPERTY INFORMATION: Be as complete as possible regarding the new property's address, including whether the address is a street, avenue, lane, road, etc. Don't forget the zip code.

HOW TAKING TITLE: The escrow and the loan process will be expedited with the following information:
- how is title to be vested . . . As joint tenants, community property, tenants in common or Community Property with Right of Survivorship?
- if a married person intends to take title as his/her "sole and separate" property, a quitclaim deed will be required from the non purchasing spouse. If a married person is in the process of an un-finalized divorce, a quitclaim deed will also be required.

SINGLE OR UNMARRIED: A person who has never been married is "single". A person who is divorced is "unmarried".

LEGAL DESCRIPTION & CURRENT SELLER VESTING: When acquiring a listing, it is usually wise to obtain a copy of the seller's original grant deed and/or a copy of the original policy of title insurance. When opening escrow, the legal description and the current seller's vesting will expedite the drafting of escrow documents.

HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION INFORMATION: If a homeowners' association is involved, the amount of monthly dues and the name and address of the HOA contact will be very helpful.

Obviously, there are many other details required by the escrow officer. Some of these details may need to be conveyed from the buyer's lender. Hopefully the lender will already have pre-approved the buyer and will be able to provide information related to the buyer's financing. But, first, the lender will need to know the information identified above plus the following:
- the purchase price
- is secondary financing involved; what are it's terms?
- is the seller anticipating paying any of the buyer's costs?
- Length of the escrow
- Is there personal property included in the sale price?

The lender can then convey the financial information to the escrow officer. In addition, the following information will be required by both the escrow and the lender:
- pest control information . . . any limitations of repairs and/or costs?
- insurance . . . does the borrower know from whom they will acquire their homeowner's insurance?
- contingencies . . . are there contingencies that will affect the potential closing of the escrow? What are they, when are they likely to be eliminated?
- Is there a well and/or septic system that will require inspections?

Be sure to share any information that might affect the transaction with both the escrow officer and the lender. Successfully closing an escrow requires communication and teamwork between the buyer, seller, real estate agent, the escrow officer and the lender.

Web Page/Escrow Process