The home buying process can be an exciting but time consuming process for anyone who is in the market hoping to buy their dream house.
After all the dust has settled and buyer and seller are in accordance and have agreed on terms, there are still several more steps before a new homeowner can move into their new home.
One of these steps lies in the hands of an Escrow Officer, also known as a Loan Officer.
An escrow account holds funds or a deed made by one party that will not be delivered to the second party until all legal matters are completed and all instructions are met by both groups.
It is a safety measure used to make sure the exchange of assets is not made until every party has fulfilled their responsibility in the home buying process.
Escrow Officers are considered a neutral third party and are typically employed by a title company.
Their main purpose is to manage the escrow process making sure funds or deeds aren’t exchanged until finalization is complete.
An Escrow Officer handles all the paperwork and procedures related to the closing process before the finalization of a real estate deal.
Some typical responsibilities include organizing and preparing the final paperwork, researching home titles, serves as an observer for documentation signatures and assuring that all the final steps for the transaction are done appropriately and according to law.
Education Requirements to Become an Escrow Officer
The minimum education requirement in order to become an Escrow Officer for certain companies is having a high school diploma or equivalent.
A candidate with a Bachelor’s degree in the field and knowledge of all concepts, procedures and practices is an alternative option to becoming an Escrow Officer in the commercial field.
Candidates with high school diplomas must supplement their diploma with work experience in the field, possibly as an Escrow Assistant.
Someone who wants to become an Escrow Officer should plan on working as an Escrow Assistant for at least 3 to 4 years before they can work as an Officer; three of those years should be specifically working as an Escrow Assistant.
Some skills that are sure to strengthen a candidate’s background include having great communication skills, basic computer skills, be able to read legal documentation, ability to write correspondence or reports and have some basic math skills such as algebra and geometry proficiency.
In order to become an Escrow Officer, a candidate will also need to seek certification.
Certification rules and regulations vary by state and candidates will need to get approval from the state they wish to work in.
A national organization that can provide information is American Escrow Association.
Visit their website for more information: AEA
Escrow Officer Job Description
Escrow Officers get involved in the home buying process during the final stages.
They are responsible for setting up new escrow accounts and processing documentation according to previously established policies and procedures.
Escrow Officers also have the responsibility to provide escrow information to all parties involved.
They are in charge of the documentation, assets and home titles and distribute the information after finalization is complete.
All specifications need to be met before the escrow is allowed to be closed.
A more specific job description can be read below.
- Communicate with lenders, buyers, sellers and borrowers in order to prepare documentation for finalization
- Opens, processes and maintains escrow account according to instructions
- Deposits monetary funds into escrow account and maintains records of all transactions
- Assist in safeguarding funds and documentation
- Finalizes real estate escrow deals after establishing whether requirements were met
- Is involved in clearing titles; prepares, collects and evaluates closing documents
- Attends closings and delivers closing documents and other related materials
Escrow Officers can handle several escrow accounts and clients simultaneously.
They must be organized and knowledgeable about the home closing process.
They typically follow up after a closing and maintain documentation of any communications.
Escrow Officer Salary and Career Path
The national median income for Escrow Officers is approximately $41,000 annually with a range of $23,800 to $69,000 per year.
Salary depends on years of experience and expertise as well as location and whether a loan officer works for a Federal branch or a private company.
The job outlook looks promising and is expected to grow at an average pace at 10% throughout the next decade.
This growth is attributed to economic expansion and population growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does an escrow officer do?
An escrow officer is someone who assists real estate sellers and buyers; the specialists help complete legally required administrative tasks (like facilitating property transactions between parties).
The change or transfer in the status of real estate or personal property can’t be carried out unless the legally required administrative duties are complied with.
That’s exactly what escrow officers do; these specialists become a third party between the buyer and the seller of a property.
The typical tasks of an escrow officer include holding and disbursing funds; preparing escrow instructions; preparing certain documents; obtaining the signature of the sellers and buyers, and so on.
In the majority of cases, escrow officers simultaneously play the role of a notary; that means that the specialists can notarize the documents involved in the sale or exchange.
How much do escrow officers make?
On average, escrow officers earn around $50.000 per year in the United States.
In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to make anywhere between $35.000 and $78.000 annually.
If you are an entry-level escrow officer with less than a year of experience, you can make around $39.000 (that includes tips, bonuses, and commissions); escrow officers who have 1-4 years of experience, make $42.000; top-level professionals with 10-19 years of experience make a little less than $52.000 per year.
How much does it cost to become an escrow officer?
You don’t have to go for a degree, in order to become an escrow officer.
There are schools that offer certificate programs in escrow management and associate’s degree programs in real estate.
You can also find escrow accounting courses online that will cost you as little as $150.
You would need to get a license, in order to be able to work as an escrow officer.
The application fee will differ from state to state; in Texas, for example, the application fee is $35.
What is the demand for escrow officers?
Between 2016 and 2026, the escrow officer job market is expected to grow by 11% in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This industry does depend a lot on the overall state of the economy and the real estate market.
Those aspiring escrow officers who have at least an associate’s degree in a related field and certifications will have more chances in finding a high paid job.
How long does it take to become an escrow officer?
In case you decide to go for an associate’s degree program in real estate, it will take you 2 years to complete it.
Experts suggest going for the degree, in case you want to have better job opportunities in the future.
However, you can always choose a certificate program in escrow management.
Some online programs last for only a few days, while offline programs can take you a couple of weeks or months.
A lot of employers require the candidates to have some working experience in the field; so, you might want to work as an escrow assistant or a receptionist for a year or two to gain the necessary on-job experience.