Understand The Home Buying Process - 4 Common Escrow Questions
Centennial Escrow is a full-service, independent escrow company, and has been in business for eight years. The expert escrow officers who comprise the company boast more than 70 years of combined experience. With offices in Del Mar, Encinitas and Escondido, the Centennial Escrow Officers truly are the local experts.
Escrow Manager Yvonne Walton of Centennial Escrow was kind enough to sit down with P.S. Platinum and provide answers to the most common escrow questions her clients present. While escrow can be a confusing topic, especially for first-time home buyers having never experienced the process, Yvonne has narrowed down the list to four key questions:
1. How is the closing process defined?
The closing process begins when all conditions of the escrow have been met. If a loan was needed on the buyer’s end, it must be funded. All documents must be recorded. Your escrow officer will audit your escrow file and send the recorded documents to the County Clerk. The day that the Grant Deed is recorded in the official records of the County Recorder's office is the final day of closing. The property legally changes ownership when the Grant Deed is date-stamped by the County Clerk.
When your escrow officer receives confirmation of the recording, he or she will then contact the real estate agents, who proceed to contact the buyer and the seller. A final closing statement is then written, itemizing all of the closing costs, credits, debits and prorations.
2. When do I sign my closing paperwork?
You will sign your closing paperwork upon receipt of the loan documents from the lender, generally 3-5 business days prior to the closing date. Typically, signing will occur at the escrow office. Depending on the company and clients, some may request a mobile escrowee to meet with the paperwork at a location convenient for both the buyer and seller.
3. For Sellers - When will I have my money?
Once escrow has closed, and final closing statements have been distributed, the escrow officer will disperse the due funds, as well as commissions to real estate and mortgage brokers, and any other third-party service providers involved in the transaction. Disbursement of the escrow file will occur the next business day after the close of escrow date.
4. For Buyers - When Will I Get My Keys?
You will receive the keys to your new home after closing. Once all closing documents have been signed, funds have been wired, and the deed and mortgage have been recorded, the property is officially yours!
Every escrow is different, so it is important to stay in constant communication with your escrow officer in order to manage expectations.
How Can You Ensure Your Escrow Funds Are Safe?
There are two important certifications that an independent escrow company must have to ensure they are complying with the rules and regulations necessary to keep their clients’ assets safe:
1. Service Organization Control 1 (SOC 1) Certification from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB)
There are many types of Service Organization Control reports. The SOC 1 is necessary to report on whether a company’s services are fair, and whether the design of their systems is sustainable.
The process of obtaining the SOC 1 Certification from the CFPB is expensive and lengthy. However, it is necessary to ensure the escrow officers understand privacy, encryption, and all other policies and procedures that are in place to protect their clients’ money.
Buyer and Seller Tip: The SOC 1 Certification should be the first qualification you look for before deciding on a company to handle your escrow.
2. Licensure under the Department of Business Oversight (DBO)
In order to for an escrow company to be considered “independent”, it must maintain licensure under the DBO. Licensure requires an escrow company to be prepared for frequent inspections, and audits.
Companies who boast these qualifications are always under the watchful eye of the CFPB and DBO. You can rest assured knowing that your escrow company is prepared to protect your assets as a result of periodic evaluations by these organizations.
A Solid Team Creates A Smooth Transaction
Centennial Escrow serves by the age-old motto, “the customer is always right”. With referrals as the main source of business, they work tirelessly to ensure their clients are not only pleased with the end result of the transaction, but also enjoy the process.
Centennial Escrow is privately owned, similar to P. S. Platinum. The smaller size of the company allows their officers flexibility to go the extra mile to accomplish specific tasks for their clients.