Information providied by the Escrow Institute of California:

An escrow is an account established, under the provisions of license law, for the purpose of holding funds on behalf of some person until the consummation or termination of a transaction.

Escrow FAQ

The principals to the escrow – buyer, seller, lender, borrower – cause escrow instructions, most usually in writing, to be created, signed and delivered to the escrow officer. If a broker is involved, he will normally provide the escrow officer with the information necessary for the preparation of your escrow instructions and documents.

The escrow officer will process the escrow, in accordance with the escrow instructions, and when all conditions required in the escrow can be met, the escrow will be "closed." Each escrow, although following a similar pattern, will be different in some respects, as it deals with YOUR property and the transaction at hand.

The duties of an escrow holder include: following the instructions given by the principals and parties to the transaction in a timely manner; handling the funds and/or documents in accordance with instructions; paying all bills as authorized; responding to authorized requests from the principals; closing the escrow only when all terms and conditions have been met; and, distributing the funds in accordance with instructions and porviding an accounting for the same – the Closing, or Settlement Statement.


A closing statement is an accounting, in writing, prepared at the close of escrow which sets forth the charges and credits of 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 costs for all services and determination of the funds you are entitled to at the close of escrow. When you receive your closing papers, review the closing statement; it comes itemized, and reflects the financial aspects of YOUR transaction. If anything does not make sense to you, you should ask your escrow officer for an explanation.

When going through your closing papers, examine all of them; there may even be a refund check hiding in there. Be sure to have the check properly endorsed. All payees must endorse the check. This will eliminate the check being returned unpaid due to irregular or missing endorsements.