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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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5/18/2016 Aloha Lance! Thank you all for your “local kine” support of the Big Island Chocolate Festival this year. It was really very successful and your support helped us keep the ball rolling as we brought tickets in. I will let you know how much was raised for the schools, but wanted you to see this online news story that mentions your sponsorship. Hawaii 24/7 has quite a large readership. Thanks again! http://www.hawaii247.com/2016/05/15/big-island-chocolate-festival-names-top-confections/ Julie Ziemelis-Owner Ziemelis Communications Integrated Communications Expert-PR
2/29/2016 In 15+ years of Hawaii Mortgage Company dealing with thousands of realtors, it is very rare when you come upon agents who really care and love what they do and want to make the transaction as wonderful as possible for all parties involved. Lance and Kimi go above and beyond for their clients and the mortgage professionals (like us!) who they are working with. In a world full of mortgage regulations, Lance and Kimi make sure to keep everyone on track of the timelines to ensure closing on time, which benefits both the sellers and buyers. We are lucky to work with them and look forward to many more transactions together in the future! Maura K. Shannon Manager / Mortgage Loan Originator NMLS #339190 Hawaii Mortgage Company NMLS #232582 443 Portlock Road Honolulu, Hawaii 96825 Tel: 808-988-6622 Fax: 808-988-7722 Maura K. Shannon
1/18/2016 I recently referred a client to Lance and he was spectacular. I refer a lot of agents outside of my market and Lance has by far been the most impressive I've ever had the pleasure to recommend. He has his thumb on the market and he is a master communicator. He is extremely good with follow up and he is one step ahead; just as you are thinking you want to reach out to check in with him, you'll find an email with an update answering the questions you hadn't even asked yet. He is everything you'd expect in a high performing professional and more. Plus his great personality makes him fun to work with. I'm truly impressed beyond all expectations. Jana S. Realtor Seattle WA.
10/14/2015 Lance Owens is the one of the best realtors in Kona. He has done a couple of my real estate purchases and is always above board on expectations and knows the Kona market as well as anyone. He has helped tremendously in getting the right deal at the right price. He is always available and very generous with his time, a gift when you are as busy as he is. Lance is trustworthy to handle your biggest investment. Bop P. Tampa, Florida
10/7/2015 I have personally known Lance for over 20 years... Even before he became a realtor! Lance is not your typical realtor. His ethics, integrity and work ethic are second to none. He and his partner Kimi are dedicated to work hard on your behalf... Not just out to get a commission! I would recommend Lance if you really want to get the best offer on your property and I would definitely use him again as my real estate agent!!! You will not be disappointed! I give Lance & Kimi 10 stars! Vicki Y. Honolulu, HI
Lance gives 100% always...we were lucky and grateful to be able to work with him several times! We liked the fact that he is honest, trustworthy, & always looking out for the best interests of his clients. At times the buying or selling process of a home can be a headache. Lance always has a demeanor that seems to make any situation positive. He exceeded our expectations and along the way gained our friendship. We would recommend Lance to our family and friends any day!!! Thanks ---Lance!!! :) C&D L H.O.V.E. HI
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