What Is Escrow? Interview with Escrow Officer Jason Annotti

Jason Annotti, Escrow Officer / Manager

Jason Annotti

To provide better insight into the world of Escrow, we interviewed Jason Annotti, an Managing Escrow Officer with Chartwell Escrow in Sherman Oaks, CA. Escrow can be a foreign subject to some home buyers and sellers so hopefully this interview will help answer your frequently asked questions about escrow.

Most of our readers do not understand what Escrow is… can you please explain escrow?

Escrow Companies are an independent 3rd party to a transaction that essentially oversees and monitors the contractual agreement. We also hold the funds in an independent Escrow Trust Account and disburse the funds upon a successful close of escrow based upon the instructions provided. Escrow provides a level of safety to all parties involved and ensures that all parties perform their obligations under a Purchase and Sale Agreement.

How do you find an escrow officer?

Escrow officers can be found a number of ways, most often they are referred by word of mouth and recommended by the real estate agents or mortgage brokers in the transaction. The most common and safest escrow officers are those that are licensed by the Department of Corporations.

How do you choose the right escrow officer for you?

The “right” escrow officer is typically one that does business the same way as you do. For example if you like to correspond and receive documents by email you will want to ensure your escrow officer is proficient at email. If you want your officer to be available on weekends or after hours you will want to be sure to your officer is available by cell phone and is accommodating to your schedule.

Are there any escrow caveats, or anything people should be on the look out for?

If you are a buyer, during the escrow process it is important to diligently work on any financing you are obtaining to purchase the property and to return any paperwork sent to you in a timely manner. Delays can be very costly and could also possibly cost you the deal and your deposit! If you are a seller, you will want to be sure that you complete, sign and notarize everything as soon as possible and return your package to the escrow officer so that any issues can be cleared up well in time to close. For any party, it is highly recommended that you request an estimated closing statement as early as possible so that you know the fees up front, can ask any questions and be prepared for the final closing.

What should buyers and sellers have to be prepared to open and more importantly close escrow?

To open escrow – a mutually agreed to and executed Purchase Agreement and typically a good faith deposit (typically 3% of the sales price) are required. To close escrow – all signed escrow documents, removal of contingencies, any applicable financing and the balance of the down payment are required.

What is your outlook for the real estate market in 2012?

Moving into 2012 we see more transactions happening in the commercial, multi-family, REO/Bank Owned and Short Sale channels. I assume prices to remain pretty constant, but anything of value selling rather quickly. Market still appears to be a great opportunity for buyer’s assuming the right property can be found.

Thank you Jason for this valuable information about escrow. For escrow services, you can contact Jason Annotti at (818) 995-2580 or JAnnotti@chartwellescrow.com.

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