Tips to Help With YOUR Sonoma County Escrow
  • Title fees vary from one company to the next and some companies offer discounts or package deals that may save you money. Some companies offer short-term rates (for properties recently sold), senior or first-time buyer discounts, teacher discounts, etc. If you are re-financing with the same lender, some companies offer a discounted re-issue rate. A good agent will help you determine if there are any discounts that may apply to you and help you shop for a competitive title company.
  • Buyers often forget to budget for closing costs, which are separate from the cost to purchase the home. Your real estate agent can help you with this budgeting process.
  • Remember that the key document in the escrow process is the Purchase Agreement and the incorporated Escrow Instructions. Take the time with your real estate agent to understand all the point in this document.
  • It is important to take a copy of the purchase agreement, the escrow instructions, and any notes you may have taken throughout the escrow process along with you to the final signing at the escrow company. These documents may provide a handy reference to answer any questions that come up during the document signing.  The buyer should also take a copy of their loan approval and other loan documents.
  • Understand every document you are asked to sign in the escrow process. If you do not understand a document, ask for clarifications. Review of the documents PRIOR to the day of signing, can really help. Your real estate agent should be willing to get these documents and walk you through them a day or two before signing.
  • The escrow documents are important legal documents and the escrow process was designed to avoid having to use a lawyer for a typical home purchase. HOWEVER, if you feel that you need the help of a lawyer to guide you through them, don’t hesitate to do so.
  • Buyers; Double-check that ALL your required conditions have been met by the seller, and that they have been met to YOUR satisfaction BEFORE you sign off.
  • Remember that there are stringent deadlines during the escrow process that both buyer and seller must abide by. For this reason, always respond to a phone call or request from the escrow officer or your real estate agent as quickly as possible.
  • Be sure you understand the type of funds (cashiers check, personal check, etc) that is required for a particular cost during the escrow period. Failure to have the required funds, of the proper type, can delay close of escrow and potentially create substantial problems.
  • In many cases the lender will forward the buyer’s loan documents to the escrow officer for the buyer to sign. Remember that these documents are the LENDERS documents and the escrow officer may not even know what they are, and therefore cannot explain them to the buyer. Any questions you have about the lenders documents must be directed to the lender to explain. Many lenders are willing to have a lender representative at the signing to answer any questions.

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