1. TITLE LISTING AGREEMENT
Property owner (seller) initiates a contract, or listing agreement with a real estate agent.
2. THE SALE
Property owner (seller) enters into a purchase agreement contract, or earnest money agreement, with a buyer. According to the agreement a closing agent is selected (title insurance and escrow company).
3. THE ESCROW
Seller instructs real estate agent to open escrow on seller’s behalf.
An escrow is a neutral third party depository for legal documents on funds necessary to complete a real estate transaction. The escrow agent will disburse these funds and documents to the proper recipients according to their written instructions.
What title insurance and escrow costs are incurred in a real estate sale?
The fee for escrow services is based on the sales price of the property. This fee is typically split equally between the seller and buyer. However, buyers should check with their lenders if financing is involved as some federally insured lending programs do not allow borrowers to pay this fee.
The seller typically pays for a standard owners policy of title insurance which names the buyer as the insured. This fee is based on the sales price of the property.
The buyer typically pays for a lender’s policy of title insurance if they are obtaining a new loan to purchase the property. This fee is based on the loan amount.
What services does an escrow agent perform on behalf of the seller and buyer?
The escrow agent facilitates the closing procedures. For a typical sales transaction, these services include:
- Ordering the title insurance policies. Prior to the issuance of a policy, the title company will issue a preliminary title report which is sent to all interested parties involved in the transaction. This report will detail the current condition of the title to the property.
- Prorating taxes, insurance, etc.
- Clearing any liens, encumbrances against the property as per instruction.
- Preparing a closing statement for each party showing all credits/debits. The escrow agent will schedule appointments for all parties to sign all necessary documents.
- Preparing signed loan documents for the lender to review and approve and prepare all documentation for recording.
- Disbursing funds as per written instructions and issuing title insurance policies to the proper parties.