9 Tips for Being in a Real Estate Escrow
The process of buying a home and the escrow period can be a little stressful. However, there are ways to get through the escrow process with flying colors. Here are 9 tips on how to handle escrow like a champ.
1. First things first, Trust your real estate agent
You've come this far and hopefully, you are working with a real estate agent you trust. Check in once a week to make sure you've done all you need to.
2. Be flexible
Focusing on the big picture can alleviate a lot of stress. When you open escrow that also opens the door for asking for credits and repairs, understand this is all part of the process and things change quickly.
3. Create a timeline
It's ok to ask your realtor to give you a timeline! It's nice to know your due dates for inspections and financing. Gathering this information up front can help you get a better understanding of what's to come.
4. Keep on top of the paperwork
The main thing a buyer can control is their paperwork. Review what you're signing and sign your paperwork immediately to avoid delays. There are many moving parts and delays with paperwork can sometimes cause a late close.
5. Create a to-do list
Sit down with your Realtor and come up with a to-do list. Schedule inspections (Realtors often do this for clients), shop insurance companies, learn about the neighborhood, arrange for utilities to be switched over, get the locks changed, etc.
6. Brace for inspections
Inspections can be intimidating because no house is perfect. There will most likely be some concerning news about the property. Understand that this is the norm. But don't let that scare you. Your job is to gain information about the property and learn from this experience. Be present during inspections and talk with your inspector, then discuss with your agent on the next steps.
7. Watch your finances
Don't make any financials changes while in escrow. Do not lease a new car, do not buy thousands of dollars of furniture or appliances on a credit card, do not quit your job or do anything that can make a lender nervous. Just leave everything alone, try not to spend, and hang tight.
8. Know that your closing date could change
Yes, closing dates sometimes change. As previously stated, delays happen due to many moving parts. This is also where tip #2 comes in handy as well (be flexible). This is the date everyone is aiming for but sometimes delays do come up, despite everyone's best efforts. Do not book movers for that day or you may find yourself stuck with all your stuff in a moving truck and nowhere to put it.
Do what you can to facilitate a smooth escrow period, and then just stay calm. You'll be moving in before you know it. When those nerves start to kick in, remind yourself why you're taking this step. Every time you start freaking out about the commitment of a mortgage just remember that if you are renting you're already paying a mortgage. It's just someone else's. Call your homeowner friends and ask if they have any regrets. Most of them will tell you they wish they would have bought sooner.