As the close of escrow date draws near, the buyer and seller are usually eager to close. And, loan documents arriving in escrow represent a big step towards the completion of the escrow and the transition of the property to the new owner. However, it is often mis-understood that the close will occur immediately after loan documents are received at escrow and signed. That is not always the case. There are many details (such as lender conditions) that escrow must still verify, and depending on the lender, the funding process may take several days after the signing. This post is designed to educate the buyer as to the steps that escrow goes through in dealing with loan documents that are received in escrow. As you will see, there are several items that have to happen once loan documents are received at escrow before a transaction can close. Understanding this process can help to set the proper expectations about the closing process and help buyers be better prepared to work with both their lender and escrow to facilitate a smoother escrow process.

1. Once your loan has been approved and all prior to loan document conditions have been received and approved by the Lender, the Lender will prepare loan document and send them to escrow for signing.

2. Escrow reviews the loan documents to comply with the Lender’s requirements and reviews the escrow file for any outstanding conditions.

3. Escrow will prepare the buyer’s estimated HUD1/closing statement and put together any required paperwork needing the buyer’s signature. Escrow will make arrangements for signatures on these papers.

4. Escrow will prepare the seller’s estimated HUD1/closing statement and put together any required paperwork needing seller signature. Escrow will make arrangements for signatures on these papers.

5. In some instances the Lender may have documents that may also need signatures from the listing agent, selling agent or loan agent, so escrow will also make arrangements for these items to be signed.

6. If still needed, escrow will order insurance, closing protection letter, etc as required by the lender.

7. Once the buyer’s loan documents have been signed and/or received back into escrow, escrow will package the documents to be returned to the funding Lender. This package of documents is referred to as the loan package. Ideally, by this time, all paperwork that has been sent for signature to the seller, listing agent, selling agent and loan agent have been signed and returned to escrow to include in this package. Lender’s work differently, and some will be prepared to fund the loan when they receive the loan package, others will require 24-72 hours after the loan package is received by the lender to review the package prior to advising if there are any additional requirements/conditions to fund the loan (this is the most common scenario we run across on the West coast). Buyers are advised to understand the timeframe associated with funding the loan from the lender that they are working with. This timeframe is outside the control of escrow.

8. Escrow will request funds from the lender. It is important to note, that although the loan package has been completed and received by the lender, there may be other issues/conditions related to the transaction (for example, outstanding termite repairs) that will hold up the request of loan funding from escrow. In other words, escrow has to be in a position to close escrow, meaning all conditions of the escrow have been met and all the Buyer’s closing funds have been received.

As you can see there is more to getting the Escrow closed once loan documents are in escrow than just signing, so coordinating and getting conditions cleared with your loan officer in an efficient manner is very important for a timely closing. It is important to reiterate that all loan documents are time sensitive and each Lender works differently.

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