Escrow is the process by which two or more parties transfer real estate or finance real estate by depositing documents, funds and other things of value with an independent, neutral third party (the escrow agent). The escrow agent has the authority to receive and disburse money and documents and hold these items in trust until specific events or conditions take place according to specific written instructions from the parties.
The sale or purchase of a home is one of the most significant financial transactions one can undertake. Using an independent escrow is prudent and reduces risk. A successful escrow requires an experienced team of title, real estate and escrow professionals who work together throughout the process. The escrow officer coordinates documents, records, information, and money in a timely fashion.
The California Department of Real Estate has a useful guide available online titled “Surviving the Real Estate ‘Escrow’ Process in California: Important Things and Tips You Should Know, and Mistakes to Avoid”