What is Escrow?

If you’re not from California, there’s a good chance that ‘Escrow’ is unfamiliar to you. In other parts of the country it is not unusual to have attorneys handle Real Estate documents and for all parties to get together for a ‘Round Table Closing’ where money and deeds are exchanged. In California, transactions are handled through a third-party ‘Escrow’ company.
Escrow provides assurance to all parties that the transaction is a legal one and that all funds and papers are handled safely and impartially. Escrow receives instructions from the principals to the transaction (escrow cannot draw up any document without instructions from the principals) and then collects the signatures and funds from all parties in order for the transaction to be completed as agreed.
In order to qualify for a license, an escrow office must be run by an escrow manager with five years’ experience as an escrow officer. This means that the professional manager overseeing your transaction has gained expertise honed by in-depth training. As well, a licensed escrow company must post substantial surety bonds and acquire fidelity insurance that is impossible for non-licensed Department of Business Oversight companies to purchase.

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