Let Us Shine Some Light on the Escrow Process!
What is Escrow?
"Escrow" is the formal procedure where an independent third party, or Escrow Agents, carries out the terms of the sale or refinance of a property. They act as an impartial intermediary between the Buyer and Seller, or borrower and lender, to collect documents and funds for delivery to the appropriate parties upon completion of the terms and conditions of the escrow instructions or contract.
A closing statement is an accounting, in writing, prepared at the close of escrow which sets forth the charges and credits to your account. The items shown on the statement will reflect the purchase price, the funds deposited or credited to your account, payoffs on existing encumbrances and/or liens, the cost for all services and a determination of the funds you are entitled to at the close of escrow. When you receive your closing papers, carefully review the closing statement; it is extremely logical and reflects the financial aspects of your transaction. If anything does not make sense to you, you should ask your escrow officer for clarification.
When going through your closing papers, examine all of them - there might be a refund check hiding in there! Cash the check quickly, please. Many checks are only valid for 90 days.
Your closing statement & all other escrow papers should be kept virtually forever - for income tax purposes. Your accountant will need the information about the sale or purchase of the property. IRS & other agencies may require you to prove your cost and/or profit on the sale of any property. Your closing statement will assist in this task.
Finally, don't solely rely on your escrow holder to retain the entire escrow file forever. While you can always call and get a copy of the closing statement, most escrow holders destroy the files after the statutory retention period of 6 years.
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