The Escrow Process Explained!

Real Estate

The Escrow Process Explained!

Once an offer is accepted and escrow is opened, here is what to expect in the days following:

Good Faith Deposit
Within the next 2-3 days, the buyer will need to give their good faith deposit to escrow. Mike, Jessica, or escrow will email you wiring instructions that you will need to take to your bank. Always confirm with escrow to ensure that the wiring instructions are authentic and that they came directly from escrow.
Verification of Funds
The buyer will need to provide verification of funds (for down payments or cash deals) to the seller. This can be a letter from your banker or a copy of a bank statement showing the funds available (with account number removed/blacked out).

The buyer will arrange for a physical home inspection within the next week, by a certified inspector who will inspect the property on the buyers’ behalf. Mike & Jessica can refer some qualified inspectors that they have used for many transactions in the past, or the buyer may choose an inspector. It is expected that the buyer and buyers’ agents will be present and the agreed upon fee will be paid at that time. You will receive a written report a day or so after. Click here to view a sample inspection report. An inspector may point out many items, but it is important to focus on health and safety issues. Mike and Jessica are extremely familiar with a multitude of inspection reports and can help point out items that need attention.
Other – If the physical inspection indicates some other inspections may be necessary, you may want to arrange for those. All must be done before the Contingency Removal Date.
Wood Destroying Pest – This is generally ordered by the seller/seller’s agent if it’s specified in the purchase agreement that the seller will provide and pay for this report.
Loan Appraisal – Your lender will order the appraisal of the property prior to or possibly after your physical inspection. You may be asked to pay for the appraisal up front.
Loan – You will be working closely with your lender to provide all necessary items quickly in order to close on time.


While the escrow process in California is not necessarily easily understood, it is the most commonly used procedure by which real estate is bought, sold, and refinanced in the State.

What is Escrow?  Escrow is a service that protects the public and minimizes the potential risk involved in any real estate transaction. At its essence, escrow is the process whereby parties to the transfer or financing of real estate deposit documents, funds, or other things of value with a neutral and disinterested third party (the escrow agent), which are held in trust until a specific event or condition takes place according to specific, mutual written instructions from the parties. Escrow is essentially a clearinghouse for the receipt, exchange, and distribution of the items needed to transfer or finance real estate. When the event occurs or the condition is satisfied, a distribution or transfer takes place. When all of the elements necessary to consummate the real estate transaction have occurred, the escrow is “closed”.

Escrow Docs: Escrow will be sending the buyer & seller a separate package of documents to review, fill out and sign. These documents may include the Escrow Instructions, Preliminary Title Report, Vesting Information and Homeowner’s Insurance information.

Please make sure Mike & Jessica have your current mailing address to provide escrow with and check your mail daily for these important documents.


There are many disclosures that are required by the state of California when transferring real property. Be sure to check your email frequently for disclosures that need signing.

Sellers must fill out required disclosures to the best of their knowledge and provide to the buyer as soon as possible. Mike & Jessica will provided and explain the disclosures in detail as they are collected.


Who pays for what?

Here are some of the standard costs for buyers and sellers throughout a real estate transaction. These are not set costs and may be adjusted depending on the terms of the sale. Give us a call for more information.

Standard Buyer Costs

Loan Appraisal: Typically between $300-$400
Home Inspection: Cost based on square footage, typically between $300-$500
Closing Costs: Dependent on your loan terms, taxes etc. Closing costs typically amount to 1.5% of the purchase price, but may vary. Call us or your lender for more information on closing costs credits etc.
Escrow Fees: Typically split between buyer & seller. Many escrow companies charge $2 per thousand (of the purchase price) + a $200 base fee.
Down Payment: Dependent on your loan


Standard Seller Costs (Contact us if you would like a custom ‘Seller Estimated Net Sheet’ sent to you)

Mortgage Payoff (If applicable)
Title Insurance
Transfer Tax
Property Taxes
Home Warranty (If requested by buyer): $450-$500
Natural Hazard Disclosure: $100
Termite Inspection/Clearance
HOA Document/transfer Fee (If applicable)
Escrow Fees: Typically split between buyer & seller. Many escrow companies charge $2 per thousand (of the purchase price) + a $200 base fee.