After you and the buyer have signed your purchase agreement contract on your duplex, triplex or fourplex (or your single-family home), your REALTOR® can open escrow with a licensed title company. The title company acts as an intermediary in collecting all documents and payments to make the sale happen. All the documents and funds held in escrow will remain there until all conditions in your agreement have been met.
What is Escrow?
Escrow is a financial instrument held by a third party – one not otherwise involved in the real estate transaction – on behalf of two other parties. Essentially, escrow is like a trust account that holds the property safely while the buyer and seller fulfill all their obligations to each other.
Who Opens an Escrow Account?
The buyer’s real estate agent, working with your agent, will open an escrow account. The buyer’s earnest money will go into escrow for safekeeping, as will other funds related to the transaction (such as any allowances you’re making).
What Do Sellers Need to Do Before the Duplex, Triplex or Fourplex is Released From Escrow?
As the seller, there are a number of tasks that you must complete before your property is released from escrow and sold to the new buyer. Your tasks include:
- Making your home available for general contractor inspections and formal appraisals done by the buyer’s lender
- Preparing all property disclosures as mandated by California state law
- Meeting any other contingencies in your contract, such as any negotiated repairs
If you want to ensure that you stay on top of everything you need to do during the escrow process, stay in close touch with your real estate agent and the title company.
Important Note: there are many scams out there today so please ensure you are speaking directly with your agent and/or title company representative on everything related to your transaction. This includes any instructions you’ve been sent via email or wiring of any money from a bank account.
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