frequently asked questions

A  Pickford Escrow Company was established in 1991 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Home Services of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. Pickford Escrow Company is licensed by the Department of Business Oversight (DBO), binding it to the most strigent regulations in the industry.

All of the employees are approved by the DBO and subjected to background checks by the Department of Justice. They are also regularly audited by the DBO and participate in internal financial audits perfomed by State of California licensed CPA firms.

Pickford Escrow Company is also bonded by Escrow Agents’ Fidelity Corporation (EAFC). This insurance bond is similiar to how the FDIC protects your financial assets when making deposits in your trusted banking institution.

All of these standards provide assurance that your money is safe and that the company is fulfilling its obligation to guard money and protect your assets.

A  Escrow is a service provided to the public for the protection and handling of funds and/or documents between two parties. Escrow enables buyers and sellers to transact business with each other through a neutral party, thereby minimizing each party’s risk.

In the escrow, all parties involved give their instructions to this neutral intermediary, the “Escrow Holder” whose duty it is to assure that no funds or property will change hands until all instructions have been carried to completion.

A  No, and it’s recommended that you research this.

Many companies don’t require trust fund insurance, financial liquidity requirements, net worth requirements and background checks. Pickford Escrow Company believes these are vital to the protection of your funds and it strictly adheres to these guidelines and standards.

A  Most contracts which involve the transfer, lease, or financing of real or personal property can be done in escrow. Escrow can also be used when you buy a mobile home, sell a business, or transfer stock in a closely-held business.

Interestingly, Prize Fighters have even been known to have their purses guaranteed through an escrow depository.

Buyers and Sellers should demand the protection of escrow for any transaction which involves a substantial investment.

A  Escrow acts as an impartial, neutral party. Simply described, it’s the job of escrow to be certain that the terms of the purchase agreement have been fulfilled before authorizing the transfer of title from seller to buyer and the transfer of funds from buyer to seller.

Escrow collaboratively works with: sellers, buyers, listing and buyer’s agents, lenders, homeowners associations, title companies, termite companies, home warranty companies, fire insurance providers, and lien holders. Funds and documents from all of these entities are deposited in escrow, reviewed and held until closing.

A  Whether you are the buyer or the seller, you should want assurance that no funds or property will change hands until all of the instructions have been followed and completed.

A  If a transaction is contingent upon a new loan, it is your responsibility to arrange this loan. If you haven’t begun this process, notify your real estate agent. They may be helpful in obtaining a lender for you.

A  The Escrow Officer is a trained and experienced professional. They can provide you the assistance required to close your transaction quickly and effectively. This professional person may, under the terms of the instructions, make the decision that the conditions of escrow have been met, and then order the transfer of the affected real or personal property to the interested parties.

Many Escrow Officers proudly display their professional designations, including on their business cards and letterhead. Some of these designations indicate that they have met the high standards of education and experience required for certification by the California Escrow Association.

A  When the Escrow Instructions have been prepared, read them carefully to determine that they are complete and properly reflect your total agreement. If you have questions or concerns, discuss them with the Escrow Officer before signing. Once the instructions have been signed, they become the basis for the conduct of the escrow.

A  No. Funds are held in a non-interest bearing account and do not earn interest while held in escrow.

A  An Escrow Officer is NOT a legal counselor and cannot give you legal advice. The purpose of escrow is to take and comply with instructions of a mutual agreement between parties. In the event of a disagreement of the parties, the Escrow Officer must remain neutral until an agreement is reached.

A  Begin by sharing how escrow can go smoothly for you: Do you prefer email or phone calls? Do you have multiple mailing addresses? Do you prefer to come to our office to sign documents or to work through them on your own at home?

Also, watch for mail and emails and do your best to respond quickly. Escrow is time sensitive and delays cause more delays.

Make sure that you’ve properly signed all the documents. Generally, the areas that need to be signed, initialed or notarized will be clearly marked.

Lastly, if you have any questions, please let the Escrow Officer know! They’re there to help.