What Is an Escrow Officer?

Stressed about the home buying process? You’re not alone. Because there are so many things needed during this deal, a bit of stress is completely normal.

One thing you’ll need is an escrow officer. These experts can help with all documents, including closing agreements. What are their roles and responsibilities exactly? Read on to find out.

What Is an Escrow Officer?

An escrow officer works as an unbiased third party to help home sellers and buyers carry out mortgage transactions. There are local laws that state whether or not an escrow office is from a title company or is an attorney.

These professionals will help manage closing documents and costs. An escrow holder account sets money aside if deposits were made before the closing process.

Once the funds are to be delivered to the seller, an escrow officer will do so. If both parties are unable to agree on the funds and deposits, an interpleader action might occur.

Roles and Responsibilities

Escrow agents have many obligations but one of their main ones is ensuring that all closing documents are accurate. During the closing process, they will review and explain each document to you before you sign it.

With the money in the escrow accounts, they will complete the transaction. Although these individuals cannot help with legal advice, they can answer general questions about a home loan.

Choosing an Escrow Officer

In most cases, the seller and the buyer don’t have a say in who the escrow officer is. Instead, the loan officer will choose. There are cases where there are two loan officers in which the seller’s listing agent chooses the second one.

Buyers can suggest certain companies, but an escrow officer tends to go with people they have experience with.

As a home buyer, check your loan estimate. This document should list services for the person who handles your closing.

Keep in mind that even if you have a say in who the escrow officer is, they do not work for you as the buyer or seller.

Escrow Officer vs. Title Officer

Both an escrow officer and title officer are involved in the real estate process and both work with the buyer and seller. Although they share some similarities, the differences matter.

A title officer looks for problems that could potentially slow down or complicate a mortgage transaction. In contrast, an escrow officer spends time completing paperwork and filing tax documents.

A title officer won’t hold money for the parties involved like an escrow officer does.

The Bottom Line

An escrow officer is an important expert in the real estate community that helps both parties complete mortgage transactions. It’s not always possible to choose your escrow officer, but when you can, do your research on companies.

Having the right expert on your side will ensure that everything goes smoothly. Even though these professionals cannot offer legal advice, what they bring to the closing table is still important.

Looking for more articles as a home buyer or seller? Check out our other real estate articles!

Read more: Mortgage Advice for a First Time Home Buyer

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