Is an Escrow Agent the Same as a Closing Agent?
Buying or selling a home starts with two parties (and their real estate agents), but to finish the process requires many more. Is an escrow agent the same as a closing agent?
Once the seller accepts and signs a contract, the buyer must submit earnest money to escrow. This money, about 5% of the purchase price, is an act of good faith to show the seller intent to follow through with the contract. To ensure a fair process and timely transfer of funds, however, the money does not become the sellers until the contract is complete. For the protection of both parties, earnest money is held in an escrow account. The escrow account is managed by a neutral third party, called the escrow agent.
The deposit of earnest money into the escrow account is usually the first condition of the contract to be met. Over the next month or so, many other items must be checked off the list to get to closing. The buyer’s to-do list includes the home inspection, a title search, and providing documentation to the lender to finalize financing. The lender will require an appraisal, and the seller is responsible for taking care of any repairs that come up during the inspection process.
When these items are complete, a closing agent will gather all the necessary paperwork and documentation for closing day. On closing day, the closing agent guides the buyer, seller, and their agents through all of the paperwork to ensure that everything is signed. Then, keys are passed to the new owner and the escrow money is released to the seller. The home purchase and sale is complete!
An escrow agent is responsible for managing the funds in the escrow account from deposit to closing. As a neutral third party, they act in the best interest of both the buyer and seller, so the earnest money is protected until all conditions of the purchase agreement are met. A closing agent is responsible for keeping track of all documentation to ensure that everything is completed in time for closing. On closing day, they ensure that the final signatures are collected so the paperwork can be submitted, and ownership is transferred.
While an escrow agent and a closing agent fulfill different roles in the home buying or selling process, they can be the same person! If you want a seamless transaction, keeping your escrow agent and closing agent under one roof is a great idea. Clear Title, led by Board Certified Real Estate Attorney Stephen R. Moorhead, is your go-to company for escrow services and closing services, as well as title searches, title insurance, and 1031 exchanges. With over a hundred years of combined experience, you can feel secure entrusting your escrow and closing needs to us. To schedule a meeting with our escrow and closing agents, call our Pensacola office at (850) 361-4029, or visit our website at ClearTitleNWFL.com.