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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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Sandra Cullinan
Vice President/Associate Broker

Meybohm Real Estate
6004 Evans Town Center Blvd.
Evans, GA 30809
Office: 706-863-8218 
Extension: 2471
Fax:  706-855-7847
Cell:  706-533-3353
Email:  scullinan@meybohm.com

 

Testimonials

Sandra was very friendly, helpful and honest, she worked very hard! Mr. Schlabach
Sandra was very helpful and made sure that we understood everything that was going on during the whole process. We had a great experience with her. She also kept us very informed through the whole process. She was very friendly and knew exactly what she was talking about when it came to helping us out. We would recommend her to anyone! She is AWESOME!! Mr. Lunz
Sandra did a terrific job! We were under tight time constraints and she made sure we saw lots of homes- all of which met the criteria we provided! Mr. Guay and Mrs. Madden
Sandra Cullinan was wonderful! She made my first home buying experience wonderful as well! Great job! Ms. Altman
Sandra Cullinan is by far the best agent I have worked with in over 7 home purchases! Great experience! She is very knowledgeable in the market, best in the Augusta area! Mr. Allen T. Berry
Sandra Cullinan made our selling and buying a smooth transition. I have recommended her to several friends. She was WONDERFUL! I have dealt with other real estate companies. Meybohm has been the best! Communication was excellent!! Thank you Meybohm!! Mr. and Mrs. Chris Pryor
Sandra had excellent knowledge of the local real estate market, builders and neighborhoods. We looked at a lot of houses and I got a great house at a good price. Cannot ask for much more than that! Mr. Brett A. Paye
I would recommend Sandra because she was knowledgeable regarding short sale and other services I wanted to take advantage of. Also, she and her assistant Andrea consistantly handled themselves professionally and friendly. Not only did we give them a deadline that we had to sell due to military, there was also the added irritant of Chase Bank. With all this, yet Sandra met every challenge and excelled. Thank you. Mr. and Mrs. William T. Payne
Excellent service, friendly and knowledgeable! Mr. and Mrs. Marc Gianotli
Sandra Cullinan was a great help to us and was looking out for us with the sale. We have sold a home and purchased a home with Sandra. When we are ready to sell again (2-5 years), we will search out Sandra Cullinan. Mr. and Mrs. David A. Pierce
Sandra Cullinan is the best realtor in all of Augusta, maybe even the country. What a wonderful, caring, knowledgeable agent she is and truly an asset to Meybohm Realty- She ROCKS! Marilyn B. Altman
Sandra Cullinan went above and beyond her duties. She is a God send person. I will have her to purchase a new house in the future. Thank you for all your services. Patricia Washington
During our house hunting process we were able to see many homes without feeling the pressure of closing the deal. Our agent's goal was for us to find the right house and not just sell a house. Mr. Saman Nazar Zangana
Honest, great knowledgeable sales people Pamela B. Kennedy
Prompt service Tony E. Meade
Very early as we were simply being introduced to Augusta and the real estate market, we were not particularly pleased with service. With our connection to Sandra Cullinan however, we found energy and an accurate assessment of what our thoughts on what we bought. Mr. and Mrs. David L. Barcus
Sandra and Andrea were very helpful throughout the entire process. They constantly communicated with me via email and phone calls while I was doing my house hunting. My wife and I are very pleased with our new home! Thanks Sandra, Andrea and Meybohm! Mr. Anthony Weaver
Sandra and Andrea did a great job! Jill Churchill
Our home buying experience went very smooth. Mr. and Mrs. Hyun Ha
Excellent service, very knowledgeable and professional service, will definitely use Meybohm in the future! Ronald C. Blue
Sandra and Andrea were wonderful to work with. They made the entire process easy and stress free! Mr. and Mrs. Jansen Johnston
"It was so nice to find an agent like Sandra Cullinan. We lived out of the area and my husband was ill much of the time,This placed an added burden on Sandra to make sure that our property was always ready to show, which she handled with grace and compassion. When we needed to have repairs done she was our go between with the workers. She was always available by phone or email and was prompt in her response. I would highly recommend Sandra Cullinan to anyone needing a real estate agent. " Barbara Rollins, Orlando, Fl.
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