In a previous life I ran an escrow office in Spokane and subsequently opened a law practice just closing real estate transactions. That was 23 years ago. In that time the escrow process has matured dramatically.
My first closings were completed on a typewriter. Remember those? I got basic loan documents from the lending bank, and I typed the rest of the loan package, all the closing documents and the closing statements for the buyer and seller.
It was a lot of work, and a typo meant using whiteout or retyping the document. I still remember what I got paid for doing a HUD closing–$150. Wow!
Then came computers, and several years later Al Gore invented the Internet. The escrow process went into warp speed, and everything is now neatly typed into software designed to create all of the closing documents, letter perfect, and print them all with the touch of a pinkie on the keyboard. Banks create their own loan package on the computer now and email it to escrow.
Even the math has gotten easier. In the beginning of escrow (that almost sounds like “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”) I had to use a calculator and count days on a calendar hanging on the wall, and figure out how to prorate taxes and interest. Today software does all that.
Okay, while many things have been automated, closing a real estate transaction is not something you should try at home. It still takes an experienced escrow officer (or limited practice officer) to pull together all the necessary data and tell the darn computer exactly what to do.
There is one more precious lesson I learned closing real estate transactions: no two transactions are exactly alike. Every single transaction has nuances, and it takes experience to close a transaction correctly. Who is your escrow agent? (That sounded like an advertisement, didn’t it?) Who you choose as your escrow company really is important. Choose carefully.
In a parallel universe during this same time period, software was developed to do something else quite extraordinary: to perfectly match up boys and girls based on 101 critical relationship parameters. While I am a bachelor, I’m still too scared to try such services, although I did take the free personality test.
Courtesy of Sequim and Port Angeles Real Estate, LLC
Last Updated on April 3, 2010 by Chuck Marunde
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