What Is a Close of Escrow Date?

A real estate agent shakes hands with a couple next to a for sale sign outside a new house
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The escrow close date is the date when the ownership transfer deed, such as a grant deed or warranty deed, is recorded at the county recorder's office in the county where the property is located. Recording the deed gives public notice that a change of ownership has occurred. Until the deed is recorded, the transaction is not yet considered closed. When the county recorder records the transfer deed, he stamps a recording date on the top of the deed. This is considered the escrow close date.

Documents Required at Closing With No Loan

If you sell a property and no loan is involved, the only document that is recorded is the transfer deed, which conveys title from you to the buyer. Transfer deeds come in three forms: a quitclaim deed, a grant deed and a warranty deed. Prior to closing, you'll have to sign a transfer deed, which grants title to the buyer. You must sign a transfer deed in front of a notary public for it to be valid and recordable. If it isn't notarized, you won't be able to record it.

Documents Required at Closing With Lender Financing

If a loan is involved in your sale, you'll sign a transfer deed to the buyer and the buyer will also sign a trust deed or mortgage, which secures the promissory note that the buyer has signed with the lender. When all conditions to the escrow have been met, escrow will send both the transfer deed you signed and the trust deed or mortgage that the buyer signed and record both documents simultaneously.

How to Verify the Escrow Closing Date

When the transfer deed and trust deed are recorded, the title company and escrow company, if applicable, are notified by the county recorder that a recording has occurred. The notification is usually in the form of an instrument number that the county assigns to recorded deeds. For example, when the county records a grant deed, it will assign a four- to seven-digit number to the document, which signifies that it has recorded. Escrow keeps the instrument number on file as evidence that the deed has been recorded and notifies the seller and buyer that the deal has closed.

Other Considerations

It takes the county several weeks to process the transfer deed. When the county has finished processing the documents, which includes making a copy, it mails the original transfer deed to the buyer, which becomes the buyer's evidence of ownership. The original trust deed or mortgage is mailed to the lender, which becomes the lender's security in case the borrower defaults on the loan. If the buyer hasn't received the original transfer deed within a month, he should contact the county recorder and ask for a copy of the deed that is on record.

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