A Buyer’s Escrow Checklist

Whether you’ve bought a home before or this is your first time, you likely do not fully understand the escrow process. The truth is that it can be very complex but it is also true that at The Escrow professionals we can help you make sense of the process. Use this as your buyer’s checklist and contact us at 760-864-9777 if you have questions.

First, let us look at what comes before escrow starts. In most cases, the first step is getting prequalified or preapproved with a lender. You’ll then provide that letter to a seller if you have not done so already. You will then look to get 20% down payment for the home, which may require liquidating some assets. Once the seller has the necessary information to trust that you will get approved for the loan and can handle the down payment, escrow is opened.

The Escrow Checklist for the Buyer

Your escrow company will make sure that you know what is expected of you but these are the general steps you will likely see on your escrow checklist.

  • Get wire transfer instructions from the escrow money
  • Use said wire transfer instructions to provide the escrow money with earnest money deposit
  • Send a fully executed copy of the offer to purchase to your lender
  • Obtain a list of documents the lender needs from you
  • Send all documents the lender request so that the underwriter can approve the loan
  • Review the escrow company’s escrow instructions
  • Get all required documents from the escrow company such as preliminary title report, natural hazard disclosure report, HOA docs and transfer fee, termite inspection, FIRPTA affidavit, as applicable
  • Review the seller’s disclosure and sign it
  • Follow up with the lender to assure they have scheduled the appraisal to avoid holdups on the contingency approval
  • Schedule any required inspections include general home inspection, termite inspection, roof, plumbing, chimney, or other special inspections
  • Deliver repair request to seller if necessary
  • Sign then deliver the contingency removal form
  • Review closing costs provided by the escrow company
  • Wire down payment to the escrow company
  • Sign documents at the escrow company
  • Obtain keys and move into your new home

Of course, this checklist is not exhaustive. Some transactions will have fewer steps and others will have more. The key is to work with a buyer’s agent and escrow agent who will keep you up to date to prevent any unnecessary delays. You can trust that The Escrow professionals will always keep our clients up to date on progress.

Helpful Tips

Sometimes, the ease and success of an escrow is largely dependent on the actions of the parties themselves. While there may be exceptions, the more conscientious and knowledgeable the parties are about the escrow process, the smoother the escrow transaction will be.

Prepare yourself for the escrow process.
There are several pieces of information that you will be required to supply to your
escrow officer. Often times, when a real estate broker is involved, he or she might assist
you with the communication of that information to the escrow officer. Other real estate
brokers depend on the escrow officer and client to work directly on these items together.
The following is a brief list of items that you will be expected to provide and/or deliver to
your escrow officer:


  • Correct spelling of your name and up-to-date contact information
  • Contact information for lender (and/or mortgage broker) if new financing is being obtained
  •  Mortgage loan account information (lender or loan servicer’s name, address, and account number) if you are selling or refinancing a piece of property; plus any other tax, mortgage, bond or other lien information
  • Fire insurance policy information
  • Title vesting choice
  • Copies of Trust Documents if taking title in trust or selling from a Trust
  •  Homeowner Association (HOA) and management contact information; copies ofHOA
    documents if held by owner. Any relevant corporate, partnership or LLC documents if
    taking title in the name of one of those entities, or selling from one of those entities