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Questions & Answers

Intermediaries fully informed as to the products and services we can offer to help them and their customers enjoy a smooth and pleasant escrow and title experience.

For buyers and sellers in a typical real estate sale transaction, the escrow and title portion of the process is the least understood and the most fraught with potential problems.

Often, misunderstandings occur because the parties are not familiar with the role of an escrow, especially the legal requirements and limitations to which an escrow officer must adhere.

The following should bring light to questions consumers typically ask about escrow and the escrow process.

What is an Escrow & Why Is It Important To Me?

Escrow, or the services of a qualified escrow agent, assures to all interested parties, that the rules and regulations governing real property transfers will be strictly observed by a neutral third party with an objective interest in completing the transaction.

How much does escrow cost and who pays for it?

In a typical sale transaction, the escrow fee is based on the purchase price.

In Washington State this fee is traditionally split equally between the seller and the buyer. Escrow fees are a negotiable item, subject to agreement between the parties.

If the sale transaction involves a federally guaranteed VA loan, the buyer is not allowed to pay any escrow fees and the entire amount will be paid by the seller.

For a loan-only transaction, such as a refinance, the fee is based on the new loan amount and all charges are typically paid by the borrower.

What Information does Guardian Northwest need to process my escrow?

For a smoother, more timely escrow closing, the following documents should accompany a new title and escrow order:

  • A legible copy of the earnest money agreement containing:
    • The correct legal description.
    • Full names (including middle initials) of all parties to the transaction.
    • Complete addresses, and all contact phone numbers for the parties.
    • A statement as to how the buyers wish to take title.
    • An explanation of the terms of the sale.
  • The lender’s name, address and loan number(s) for any existing financial encumbrances (such as mortgages, trust deeds) to be paid off in escrow.
  • The name, address and phone numbers for any attorneys involved in the transaction.
  • The name, address and phone number of the buyer’s lender and loan officer.
  • Broker’s Instructions to Escrow from real estate agents involved in the sale.

In the event there are additional or subsequent addenda to the original agreement, forward them to escrow as soon as possible.

What escrow services does Guardian Northwest Title & Escrow provide?

The basic definition of an escrow agent’s responsibility is to accept and hold a deed from the seller in exchange for funds from the buyer.

The escrow agent will concurrently, when all mutually agreed terms have been satisfied, release the funds to the seller and deed to the new buyer.

In most sale transactions, this “simple” process requires the escrow agent to perform the following:

  1. Order a title report on the subject property and obtain all the necessary information to clear all title defects and satisfy existing liens and encumbrances against the property or the principals involved in the sale.
  2. Work with the buyer’s lender to insure instructions from the seller, buyer and lender are coordinated.
  3. Prepare many of the documents necessary for the transaction and review all others to make certain they conform to the parties’ demands.
  4. Figure tax and interest prorates and prepare closing instructions and statements for both buyer and seller.
  5. Arrange closing appointments for all parties to sign the necessary documents.
  6. After taking final signatures, the escrow agent has responsibility to complete the transaction by checking all documents for completeness, compliance and accuracy.
  7. Return copies of all loan documents to the lender for approval to record.
  8. Record all necessary documents in the county where the property is located.
  9. Disburse all funds out of the escrow account according to the signed, written instructions. (These funds could include the seller’s net proceeds, the Broker’s real estate commission, and other payments required for loan approval or to satisfy other terms of the agreement.)
  10. Prepare and distribute final closing statements to all interested parties.

Why open an escrow with Guardian Northwest Title & Escrow?

Guardian Northwest Title & Escrow stands behind its proven reputation as a responsive, full-service title and escrow company.

Title insurance underwriting questions which arise in any transaction, are dealt with speedily and with certainty.

Providing escrow services enables us to offer a one-stop approach to completing a real estate transaction.

When you sell, buy, or refinance property in Skagit County WA, consider using Guardian Northwest Title & Escrow.

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