In California, an escrow is “closed” the day that the Grant Deed is recorded at the County Recorder’s office. The moment the Grant Deed is date-stamped by the County Clerk is when the ownership of the property changes hands.
It is not the day the buyer signs loan documents, or the day the lender funds the mortgage loan (typically a day before close unless the loan funds on a Friday, in which case escrow would close on the Monday following the weekend). The loan docs and lender funding need to occur before the Grant Deed is released to the county recorder for recording.
The Grant Deed is delivered to the County Hall of Records by a Title Insurance Representative, who waits in line at the recording window. When the Representative reaches the window, the Grant Deed is stamped with a date and document number.
The Title Insurance Representative then notifies the Title Insurance Officer that the recording is complete who in turn notifies Escrow; and Escrow notifies the seller, buyer and all agents that they have 'confirmation' of closing. This is when you get the keys to your new home. What time in the day you get your key depends on what time the Grant Deed records.
Once the Title Insurance Company receives confirmation of recording from Title Insurance Representative at the Hall of Records, they wire transfer all funds they are holding from the buyer's lender to Escrow.
Escrow then reconciles the file and disburses funds to payoff the seller’s existing mortgages, liens, and any other outstanding payments, such as retrofitting or termite repairs that they have been instructed to pay through escrow.
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