Sacramento Home Selling: When is Escrow Over and Closed?

when is escrow over and closed?Knowing when is escrow over and closed, well, it’s one of the highlights of selling a home. It’s that time when you realize a heavy load has been lifted off your shoulders. Often a burden you didn’t even know you had carried until it’s gone. In the case of my sellers in south Sacramento who lived in a hard-to-sell neighborhood, it took us more than 6 months to close that house. Then, last month, we had 2 strong offers, hours apart. Multiple offers for that house.

Right before signing the paperwork, I asked the sellers to leave all the remotes / keys / manuals in a kitchen drawer. As long as they left that stuff before closing, we are good. Because after the deadline for possession at closing — which by contract default is 6 PM — the seller is supposed to be gone. It doesn’t mean the seller can go over to the house that night or the following day to leave keys. That would be considered trespassing.

But people don’t know that. Even agents don’t know when is escrow over and closed. I’m not kidding. The buyer’s agent emailed me the day after closing to ask if it was OK if he gave the key from the lockbox to the buyer. I let him know he could have given the key to the buyer on the day it closed. He should know that. Don’t know why he did not.

However, I was not prepared for my elderly seller to ask when is escrow over and closed. Three days after it closed. Because I called her on the day it closed. I let her know it had closed and recorded and it was over. Reminded her again to make sure the keys are in the house. Suggested she cancel the utilities and her homeowner’s insurance. Thanked her for choosing me to be her Sacramento Realtor.

Yet, three days later she called to ask: when is escrow over and closed? When I asked why she did not realize it is over, she said, “It still shows online as pending.” I’ve had a relationship with this seller for 6 months. Did she think I was making it up when I informed her last Thursday that escrow is over and closed? Or, more accurately, is the public so addicted to the internet that they believe every single website that displays homes for sale in Sacramento publishes real time information?

Even our company doesn’t put a sold home into closed status until it receives all of the paperwork from escrow and sends it to the branch office. First, escrow sends the closing docs to corporate, and not necessarily on the same day it closes. Then, corporate sends the paperwork to the branch office. It can be 3 or 4 days later before MLS gets changed.

Closing escrow is confusing. There is the day you sign, which we call closing, but it’s not closing. On the East Coast, signing documents is closing. On the West Coast it is not. We’re more particular. In California, closing is the day the grant deed records at the County Recorder’s office and your agent calls you upon receipt of confirmation from the title company.

What this has made me realize is to be even more sensitive to the needs of elderly clients. Sometimes, an agent might have to explain a situation in a few different ways for it to sink in. Realtors can never forget that although we might sell a couple of homes a week, our sellers sell very few houses in a lifetime.

Elizabeth Weintraub

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