As a home seller, you most likely want to close as soon as possible, and that’s entirely understandable. But there’s that thing known as “escrow” that stands in the way. It’s that period between the time when the purchase contract is signed and closing, during which the seller basically just waits. But many sellers just don’t know much about it, including how long the whole escrow process will take. That’s why we’ve put together this guide for home sellers in Harford County – to explain escrow and how long the escrow process will take.
Overview of the Escrow and the Escrow Process
Here’s a brief definition of escrow and the escrow process in fairly technical terms…
“Escrow is a legal arrangement in which a third party temporarily holds large sums of money or property until a particular condition has been met(such as the fulfillment of a purchase agreement). It is used in real estate transactions to protect both the buyer and the seller throughout the home buying process. Throughout the term of the mortgage, an escrow account will hold funds for taxes and homeowners insurance.”
The escrow process typically begins when you (the seller) and the buyer have signed the purchase agreement/sales contract, “the agreement governing the sale of your home,” and have “chosen an escrow or title agent to act as intermediary in making the deal happen.” After that, here’s what typically takes place . . .
- “The escrow agent, title agent, or lawyer will start ordering or preparing title reports, preparing the property deed, and more.”
- “The buyer’s lender will begin in-depth review and processing of the loan and order a professional appraisal of your home.”
- “The buyer will (depending on what contingencies were in your contract)arrange for pest and general inspections and homeowners’ insurance, plus work on meeting any other contingencies.”
Your tasks as the seller throughout all this will include:
- Providing access to your home available when needed for inspections and appraisals
- Preparing necessary forms/documents such as disclosures and other locally required forms
- “[M]meeting any other contingencies you agreed to in your contract”
Industry insiders also recommend that you stay “in close touch with your real estate and escrow agents during this time, to make sure you stay on track.” To discover more about how a Harford County agent can help you navigate the escrow process, just call 443-616-5486.
How Long the Escrow Process Takes
Typically, the escrow process in Harford County takes about 30 to 60 days from start to completion. How long it actually takes can vary “depending on the agreement of the buyer and seller, who the escrow provider is, and more.” Ideally, though, you’d want to stay as close to the 30-day mark as possible.
Following are some of the factors that can influence the length of the process:
- Mortgage pre-approval
- Time required for various necessary tasks
- Gathering and preparing requisite documents
- Specific state escrow requirements
- Time required to complete the underwriting process
(“Underwriting is the process through which an individual or institution takes on financial risk for a fee. It helps set fair borrowing rates for loans, establishing premiums, and underwriting creates a market for securities by accurately pricing investment risks.”)
What Can Delay the Escrow Process
Certainly, as a seller, you don’t want the escrow process to drag on and on. It can happen, though, if there are bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the process. Some of the most notable things that can delay the escrow process and closing are:
Inspections can cover a variety of things, from structural aspects of a home to the presence of pests and mold/mildew to environmental issues. As a result, they can wind up taking a lot of time. So make sure they are scheduled well ahead of time and with certified professionals.
“Sometimes the hardest part about escrow is locating and organizing the required documents to close on a house.” You should then begin locating and preparing the necessary documents even before beginning the process. Your Harford County agent can assist you in this and can help make sure the buyer has all her documentation in order.
SLOW, INEFFICIENT, OR INCOMPETENT ESCROW SERVICE
It can happen that the escrow process takes much longer than you like because the escrow service provider is unorganized or inefficient. So be sure to choose an escrow agent who is “fast, efficient, and always available to help you with your questions during the escrow process.
You or the buyer won’t face any penalties if the process is delayed “as long as the contract has no stipulations regarding it.” But whichever party’s side in the transaction causes or is responsible for the delays will have to request more time from the other party.
How to Make the Escrow Process Go Quickly and Smoothly as
You won’t have to “worry about a slow or ineffective escrow process with the right escrow service. There is no better way to hit that 30-day mark than by picking an escrow company known for . . . fast and secure escrow services.” And that’s where your [market-city] agent can provide valuable assistance.
An experienced local agent can help steer you toward the best escrow service providers and, as result, expedite closing. So if you’re a Harford County home seller who wants to get through the escrow process and close as soon as possible, be sure to contact us today at 443-616-5486.