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What Happens Between Signing and Closing of Escrow…

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October 25, 2011

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What happens between signing and escrow closing

Note: This Article was originally published October 25, 2011. An updated version with current information is available here: What’s the Difference Between Signing and Closing Escrow

What’s the difference between “Signing” and “Closing Escrow?”

When people talk about a real estate purchase, they sometimes use the terms “signing” and “closing” interchangeably in reference to the event when the buyers sign documents with Escrow. However, there are several events that take place between the buyer’s signing appointment and the actual closing of the real estate transaction. Let’s take a moment and review that process.

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What happens after escrow signingDownload a printable article here: What Happens Between Signing and Closing of Escrow

Signing of Documents:

Escrow receives the loan documents (if applicable) from the Lender and prepares them for the buyer to sign along with final statements and any other required documents.  Upon receipt of the loan documents from the lender, the escrow closer prepares the HUD 1 settlement statement and all other legal documents required for the transfer of title into the buyers name.

Lender Reviews Documents & Funds the Loan:

Once the loan documents have been signed, the escrow officer delivers them back to the lender for review. When the lender is satisfied that all required documents have been signed and all outstanding loan conditions have been met, the lender will notify escrow that they are ready to disburse the loan funds to escrow. Upon receipt of the wire from the lender, the escrow officer is authorized to send the transfer documents to the county for recording. The time frame for review is normally 24 to 48 hours.

Excise Tax:

Real estate transactions in Washington State that involve conveyance of property require consideration of Excise Tax. All appropriate tax amounts must be paid before the county will allow the Deed conveying title to be recorded.

Deed of Trust:

A legal document that evidences an agreement of a borrower to transfer legal title to real property to an impartial third party, a trustee, for the benefit of a lender, as security for the borrowers debt.


Warranty Deed:

The legal document used in most states by which title to real estate is conveyed from one party to another.

Recording is Authorized:

Once recording is authorized by the lender, documents are hand carried (in most cases) to the county recorder’s office by the title insurance company. The Warranty Deed is recorded first, showing the transfer of the property to the buyer, with the Deed of Trust recorded next. Recording the Deed of Trust just after the Deed insures the lender’s first lien position on the property.

Recording Numbers Received:

Recording numbers are the unique numbers given by the county recorder’s office to a properly executed legal document thereby making it part of the public record. In other words, when we have recording numbers, the buyer is “on record” as holding title to the property.

Now We Have Closed Escrow

Once the deeds have been recorded, and funds are available to the seller, we can say that we have “closed” and the new owner may take possession of the property as set forth in the Purchase and Sale Agreement.

Do you have questions or thoughts about the escrow process?  Please share by leaving a comment below!

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5 Comments

  1. Debbie Graham says:

    Great explanation of the process. Thank you.

  2. This is great info thank you for sharing. I think a lot of my Seattle Real Estate clients can appreciate this knowledge.

  3. Pingback: What Happens Between Signing and Closing of Escrow…- Seattle Homes- Seattle Real Estate- Seattle Houses For Sale-http://www.ThachRealEstateGroup.com

  4. Pingback: 10 Tips for a Successful Signing Appointment | Ticor Title Northwest

  5. I already signed the loan doc yesterday, but not wired the closing fee yet. Besides, final walk through and termite issue are not completed yet. How to make sure all will be done when I get the house?

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