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Escrow Inspections and Appraisals

The Process, Step-by-Step

Expediting the Process. The basics:

  • Keep written records, put all verbal agreements in writing and make sure they are signed by both parties. Heather will assist you.
  • A timeline will be established and there will be a deadline for every step of the process. Those dates must be met to assure continuity and avoid a breach of the agreement. As always, Heather will be there to make sure you and the seller meet all requirements.

The Closing Agent. Usually a title company or an attorney, the closing agent holds the deposit in escrow, researches the property’s history, ensures that the title is clear of encumbrances and makes sure any new encumbrances are attached. A property might be subject to restrictions related to building or parking, for example, and there could be recorded easements and encroachments that might interfere with property use rights.

How to Hold Title. You might want to consult an attorney or tax advisor for considerations such as tax, estate and legal implications, including things like death of the title holder or selling the property.
Inspections. Once your offer is accepted, one of your first priorities should be having the property inspected by a licensed property inspector within the time frame specified in the agreement. You or Heather might have specific concerns requiring specialized inspections. Commercial property requires an environmental assessment as well.  The outcome of the inspections will determine either removal of the contingencies or renegotiation of the contract.

Appraisal and Lending. You and your real estate agent must keep in close communication with your lender. He or she will specify documents needed and will coordinate the visit of a licensed appraiser approved by the lending institution. Check with the lender approximately two weeks prior to scheduled closing to make sure your loan will go through on time.

Association Approval.  If your property falls in the jurisdiction of a neighborhood or development association, approval of the sale may need conditional approval by that entity. Request copies of the association’s rules and regulations at the time you sign the purchase agreement. Any pertinent documents and processing fees must be submitted to the association by a specified date. If a meeting with association representatives is required, it should be scheduled as soon as possible. The closing agent might require an original copy of the certificate of approval so that it can be properly recorded.

Property Insurance. Lenders require you to obtain property insurance. Here are a few money saving tips:

  • Consider a higher deductible.  Increasing the deductible by a relatively small amount can result in a significant decrease in your premium.
  • Ask your insurance representative about discounts.  Safety features such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, security alarms, weather-proofing, etc. often result in offers of lower premiums. Other discounts are sometimes given to senior citizens, long-term customers and customers also carrying other types of insurance with the company.
  • Think about insuring your house, not the land under it.  Most home losses are limited to the structure, so removing land value from the equation can often reduce premiums significantly.