Fidelity Title Co.
117 N. 4th St.
An escrow is an arrangement in which a disinterested third party, called an escrow holder, holds legal documents and funds on behalf of a buyer and seller, and distributes them according to the buyer's and seller's instructions.
The escrow process was developed to help facilitate the sale or purchase of your home by:
Acting as the impartial "stake-holder", or depository of documents and funds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who may hold escrow?
The escrow holder may be any disinterested third party (although some states require that certain escrow holders be licensed).
There are two important reasons for selecting an established, independent escrow firm, an attorney, or an escrow officer with a bank, S & L or title insurance company. One is that real estate transactions require a tremendous amount of technical experience and knowledge to handle smoothly. The other is that the escrow holder will generally be responsible for safeguarding and properly distributing the purchase price.
Escrow officers with established firms generally are experienced and trained in real estate procedures, title insurance, taxes, deeds and insurance.
Is escrow impartial?
An escrow officer must remain completely impartial throughout the entire escrow process. He or she will normally adopt a courteous but rather formal manner when dealing with parties to the escrow, keeping conversation to the matters at hand in the escrow. This formal behavior is meant for the benefit of all concerned, since the escrow officer must follow the instructions of both parties without bias.
What are escrow instructions?
Escrow instructions are written documents, signed by the parties giving them, which direct the escrow officer in the specific steps to be completed so the escrow can be closed.
Typical instructions would include:
Since the escrow holder can only follow the instructions as stated, and may not exceed them, it is extremely important that the instructions be stated clearly and be complete in all details.
What does each party do?
The Lender: (if applicable)
The Escrow Holder:
When does the escrow close?
Once all the terms and conditions of the instructions of both parties have been fulfilled, and all closing conditions satisfied, the escrow is closed and the safe and accurate transfer of property and money has been accomplished.
Who is charged for what?
The method of dividing the charges for the services performed through escrow or as a result of escrow varies from place to place. The fees and service charges to be divided might include, for example, the title insurance policy premium, escrow fee, any transfer taxes, recording fees and cost in connection with any loan being obtained. Unless there is some special agreement between the buyer and seller as to how these charges are to be paid, local custom will generally be followed in drafting the instructions to the escrow holder as to how they are to be divided.