What is Escrow?
Most real estate transactions in the state of California utilize the services of an escrow company, yet escrow remains one of the least understood elements of the real estate process.
Very simply defined, an escrow is a deposit of funds, a deed or other instrument by one party for the delivery to another party upon completion of a particular condition or event. The California Escrow Law – Section 17003 of the Financial Code – provides the legal definition. Whether you are the buyer, seller, lender or borrower, you want the assurance that no funds or property will change hands until ALL of the instructions in the transaction have been followed.
The escrow holder has the obligation to safeguard the funds and/or documents while they are in the possession of the escrow holder, and to disburse funds and/or convey title only when all provisions of the escrow have been complied with.
The principals to the escrow – buyer, seller, lender, borrower – cause escrow instructions, most usually in writing, to be created, signed and delivered to the escrow officer. If a broker is involved, he will normally provide the escrow officer with the information necessary for the preparation of your escrow instructions and documents.