I'm selling my house. i have a buyer. We have agreed on terms and have entered escrow. The problem is the escrow officer is asking us (the seller) to sign and have notarized the grant deed stating that the house is "being sold for a valuable consideration, receipt of which is hereby acknowledged. " it does say from whom and to but the problem we have is that we are signing that we have received something that we have not received. Is this normal? as the escrow officer insists? It doesn't sound right.
So long as it is a reputable escrow company there should be no problem.
The deed needs to be signed prior to the close of escrow, just like the funds need to be deposited before the close of escrow. It is the simultaneous exchange and delivery of the respective items by the escrow of the funds for the already executed deed that is the essence of the escrow process.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
This is a normal part of the process. The job of an escrow agent is to get all necessary paperwork ready to exchange at the close of escrow. The escrow agent only will record the deed after the funds are received by the title company.
It is important to know that signing a deed alone does not transfer title. To transfer title the deed must also be delivered. The escrow agent will deliver the deed only after you are assured to get paid.
Just make sure the escrow company is licensed by either 1) Department of Business Oversight as an "Escrow Agent", 2) Department of Insurance as a "Title Company Controlled Escrow" or 3) the Bureau of Real Estate as a "Broker Escrow".
Kevin A. Spainhour, Esq. - Hopefully this information is helpful. My answering this question giving my general thoughts does not create an attorney/client relationship and is not a legal opinion. The only way to create an attorney client relationship is to retain our services with a written retainer agreement signed by an officer of our firm. More information regarding our services can be found at www.oslawyer.com
I agree with Messrs. Doland and Spainhour, the escrow officer is a neutral, in whom you have agreed to vest trust to collect the money, be assured conditions are satisfied, and to record a deed. Asking you to sign the deed early in the process is a usual an necessary efficiency and courtesy to the parties. If you have retained competent and responsible escrow officers, you should not object to this request.
In Northern California, the grant deed is typically signed & notarized at the conclusion of the escrow period (approximately 1-7 days before close of escrow).
But in Southern California, the deed is typically signed & notarized at the beginning of the escrow period (approximately 5-10 days after signing the purchase contract). As an FYI for sellers -- only sign a deed early if you are working directly with an escrow company or an attorney. It may also help to know that the escrow will often have the seller sign page 2 of the deed upfront, but then before close of escrow they make necessary & appropriate changes to page 1 of the deed (such as the exact purchase amount, and the way that the buyers would like to receive (vest) title). Thus, it's okay that your deed reads "being sold for a valuable consideration, receipt of which is hereby acknowledged". Technically (legally), your deed is not transferred by the escrow officer to the buyer until the official date for close of escrow, so the current language "receipt of which is hereby acknowledged" is fine.
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