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Not all Escrows are Smooth Sailing

The escrow process is often extremely complicated and if it weren’t I would be out of business. In this strong home seller’s market, we find ourselves spending more time prepping our listings for sale. Not because it’s necessary but because most of our clients want to sell for the highest possible price.


In a perfect scenario, the listing is entered into the MLS; there is an open house to the public (or two) and a Broker’s Open House (aka Broker Tour, Caravan).  Offers are received, reviewed, often countered and escrow is opened. Seems simple and every now and again it is.

Earlier this year I closed escrow on a Glendale home and the entire process was like pulling teeth.  First the buyer couldn’t decide which mortgage lender to use.  He finally decided on one and then after several days went back to the other.   We added nearly two weeks to the escrow process because of his mortgage indecision. Then at the last minute we had a loan snafu.  Not big enough that we couldn’t close, but enough of an issue to delay closing another couple of weeks – now we’re a month behind schedule.

What’s a listing agent to do?  I suggested to the seller that we not grant the additional escrow extension. Instead, I sent the buyer a demand to close escrow. Of course the buyer couldn’t close (we knew that) but the buyer did agree to release his earnest money deposit to the seller in exchange for a second extension. With money in the seller’s hands, we were comfortable giving the buyer the extra time to close.

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