First time home buyers - here's how it works:  

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Real Estate

written by: Cindy Siok

You know you are going to look at homes, make an offer on your favorite one and hopefully, if all goes well, the sellers will accept your offer and you go "into escrow." This murky gray area that buyers talk about... what is escrow, exactly? I'm here to shine a light on that for you! 
First, you will immediately take your earnest money (the exact amount will be in your contract) to an escrow company to officially "open escrow." Your agent will send in the purchase contract and other information escrow will need. Escrow companies are a neutral 3rd party that follows the terms of the contract and ensures title is properly transferred from the seller to the buyer.
Generally speaking, escrow is typically 45 days. You could close sooner (30 days) or ask for a longer closing, such as 60 days. All of those are pretty common. During escrow, you can get a home inspection done to make sure everything in the home is in good working order. You will get a title report to review (this is to ensure the seller is legally able to transfer a clean title over to you). You would also get any neighborhood or condo paperwork (such as association rules). Some neighborhoods do not have an association, so there may be nothing to review. The seller typically gets a survey (for single family homes) and a termite report done and those are delivered to the buyer (to make sure there are no encroachments or termites). There are a lot of steps to the escrow process, but we just take them one at a time! Right before closing, Buyer's get a final walk-through of the house to make sure everything looks good. At the end there's an official signing scheduled, where final paperwork is done to secure a loan/transfer the home ownership. Ideally, you are in town for signing, although a remote signing is possible, it just needs to be set up well in advance.
In Hawaii, the official closing date is two days after you've signed all the paperwork/transferred funds. In Hawaii we wait for the state to officially record the sale to deem it closed.
I hope this answers basic questions you might have about the process. Reach out if you have more questions - I'm here for you!