You are in escrow!! That golden time that is a complete mystery to most home buyers and sellers. Escrow is actually a holding account but most people use the term to cover the myriad of activities that take place when the home ownership changes hands. The escrow period is usually 30-60 days but as with anything else sometimes the period can be longer or shorter. The actual escrow period should be detailed in the final contract you and the seller agreed upon. Your real estate professional should be on top of the process to make sure the escrow period adheres to the contract timetable as closely as possible, otherwise how do you know when to give notice to your landlord that you are moving.
During the escrow period lots of things are happening both in front and behind the scenes. As a buyer you have certain responsibilities. You need to make sure you are happy with the condition of the home which is done via inspections and reports. You need to make sure your home loan will be completed by the end of escrow. I have seen more than one escrow extended because the lender or buyer missed something during the loan process. That can
upset everyone and can sometimes result in financial consequences for the buyer. Finally you need to sign a two/three inch stack of papers.
Most often your inspections consist of one by a termite inspection company, normally hired by the seller, and the second done by a licensed home inspector, paid for by the buyer. Each of these inspections is very important in determining the condition of the home. Each type of inspection will result in a report that is given to both the buyer and seller. You need to review each report carefully as you may want to ask the seller to make repairs or changes to the home based on the inspection reports. You may also want to bring in special engineering groups if something on the reports is a major issue. When my husband’s parents’ home was sold it was found that the foundation was slipping. The buyer called for an engineer to inspect the home to find out what was needed to fix the foundation and we negotiatedaccordingly. You sure don’t want to make the mistake of buying a home with foundation problems that you don’t know about. Even a small condo needs a home inspection. When my niece bought her condo the inspection report found that there was a clog in one of the exterior vents that the HOA was responsible for
fixing. You just never know what might be hiding inside any home.
On the lending front you will probably have to provide additional documents to your lender to complete the loan underwriting process. I am probably going to get nasty letters from lenders and escrow agents, but you need to be prepared to send documents more than once. I have never seen an escrow that didn’t have some papers lost or misplaced. I used to rail against my escrow company for incompetence but now I just consider a part of the process. Try to keep all of your paperwork easily accessible, that way you can get to something quickly. I can only suggest you go with the flow when you are asked for something but be sure to get the information to the requestor as soon as possible. You don’t want to be the reason for a delay in closing your deal. During the escrow on a home my husband and I bought we even went so far as to hand carry documents to the escrow office. Times have changed thank goodness and now you can usually fax or scan and e-mail the necessary documents.
As the last step in the process you must sign a zillion documents in front of a notary public. I am not exaggerating when I say you have two to three inches of documents to sign. I heard an estimate recently that, at least in California, there are about 1000 pages of documents associated with the average home sale. I recommend you set aside 1 ½ to 2 hours when you are going to sign your final documents. I expect you will be overwhelmed by the process, I always have been, but there should be no surprises. If you do find any surprises, you want to contact your agent immediately. Call, text, page your agent and make it 911, you need to get your answers immediately. I am happy to report that there should be fewer instances of surprises with the new rules and regulations associated with
home buying so I am hopeful that your signing process will just be long.
Once your loan funds you will be the owner of a new home.