Once your offer is accepted by the seller, you are ready to open escrow. Unless you are paying cash, the length of your escrow period is typically determined by how long it takes your lender to approve your loan. In Southern California, the closing is handled by an escrow company. In Northern California, the closing is handled by the title company. Closing process can vary even within the same state.
Your agent carries an important responsibility during the escrow process because they will try to make sure all parties do what their contracts have agreed upon, ensure all legal obligations are met, and in the end, to make sure the buyers do not lose their deposit and the house!
If you think house hunting was stressful, many homebuyers stated the escrow process was the most stressful 30+ days of their lifetime. Therefore, using an experienced agent to guide you through this process will ensure that, you as the buyer, can enjoy the home buying process as much as possible! Your agent may have worked with many different types of buyers- some that are passive and some that are proactive.Every buyer’s personality is different, so be up front and talk to your agent openly about your expectation. Your agent is there to help!
Each escrow process can differ, but this is what you can generally expect after you have an offer acceptance from the sellers:
1. Your agent will make sure all the contracts and addendums are fully executed before you deliver your deposit to the escrow account.
2. Your agent will assist in coordinating delivery of your Earnest Money Deposit to the escrow company within your contractual obligation.
3. Your agent will assist in notifying all parties involved in the transaction that the contract has been accepted, so each party can start their process.
4. Your agent will assist you in identifying what inspections are required, finding appropriate inspectors, and finally coordinating the actual inspections.
5. Your agent will coordinate with the listing agent to obtain reports, disclosures, inspections and repairs that are under seller’s contractual and legal obligations.
6. Your agent will coordinate with the escrow officer to obtain preliminary title report, natural hazard report, C.L.U.E, grant deed, HOA docs, home warranty…etc.
7. Your agent will then also advise and walk you through all the disclosures and reports received. There will be an overwhelmingly large amount of documents being sent to you for review and signature, and your agent will guide you through them.
8. Your agent will continue to monitor your contingency deadlines. As the buyer’s agent, they should try their best to delay the removal of contingencies as long as possible. In the state of California, the buyer can still receive their EMD back even after the contingency deadline as long as they have not removed contingency in writing.
9. Upon all due diligence, your agent will advise to see if there is any further negotiation warranted.
10. Your agent will coordinate with the lender and make sure an appraisal is completed in a timely manner.
o If the appraisal comes back with a value that is unreasonable, your agent will help you put together a rebuttal for the appraiser.
11. Your agent will coordinate with your lender and push for a conditional loan approval, in order to provide time to anticipate any problems getting your loan and help your lender to resolve anything that the underwriters may bring up.
12. Once we have most conditions met, your lender may advise you that you can safely remove loan contingency.
13. (Buyer to remove all contingencies.?) After the buyer removes all contingencies in writing, the earnest money deposit becomes non-refundable.
14. Your agent will continue to coordinate with the lender and escrow to make sure loan documents are being ordered in a timely manner.
15. Your agent will assist escrow to coordinate with the buyer, and the escrow officer or notary, to sign all loan and escrow documents at a convenient location.
o Your agent should attend the closing with you, as the buyers usually have a lot of questions during signing. Your agent will also help you to go over all the fees that are being charged on the settlement statement.
16. Your escrow officer will put together all your signed documents and package it to send back to the lender for one FINAL underwriting before funding, which may take approximately 24-48 hours.
17. Lender will fund the loan, and buyer will then wire or provide a cashier’s check on the remaining funds for down payment and closing costs.
18. Escrow sends in the deed for recording, and depending on the county, some recordings can be completed on the same day.
19. Congratulations, YOU ARE THE NEW OWNERS, once the escrow officer receives confirmation of recording from the county!
20. Your agent will arrange to get the keys from the listing agent. You can then arrange a time to pick up the keys TO YOUR HOME!
21. Escrow then makes payment to all parties and adjusts the figures accordingly, and if there is any remaining amount, it will be refunded back to the buyer in a check along with the final settlement statement to be mailed to the buyers.
22. THE LAST BUT NOT LEAST, it’s time to open up a bottle of champagne or a bubbly drink to celebrate a long hard work that turns into a fruitful reward!
To find an experienced Realtor® in your area to represent you, feel free to visit the following websites:
Graduate Realtor’s Institute (GRI): http://www.grinetwork.org/
Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR): www.Rebac.net
Helen Chong, is a GRI, ABR®, e-PRO®, SFR, CDPE® who can be reached conveniently through email, phone call, texts, and/or chat if you have any further questions about selling or buying a property.