An escrow is an arrangement in which a disinterested third party, called an escrow holder or settlement agent, holds legal documents and funds on behalf of a buyer and seller, and distributes them according to the buyer’s and seller’s instructions.
People buying and selling real estate often open a sale transaction with the settlement agent for their protection and convenience. The buyer can instruct the settlement agent to disburse the purchase price only upon the satisfaction of certain prerequisites and conditions. The seller can instruct the settlement agent to retain possession of the deed to the buyer until the seller’s requirements, including receipt of the purchase price, are met. Both rely on the settlement agent to carry out faithfully their mutually consistent instructions relating to the transaction and to advise them if any of their instructions are not mutually consistent or cannot be carried out.
Fidelity National Title provides professional escrow settlement services that are a convenience for the buyer and seller because both can move forward separately but simultaneously in providing inspections, reports, loan commitments and funds, deeds and many other items, using settlement as the central depositing point. If the instructions from all parties to the transaction are clearly drafted, fully detailed and mutually consistent, the settlement agent can take many actions on their behalf without further consultation. This saves time and facilitates the closing of the transaction.