Understanding the Escrow and Closing Process in Oregon

How does the real estate escrow process work in Oregon? How long does it take to close on a house, once I have a contact? These are two of the most common escrow-related questions among Oregon home buyers. Here’s what  you should know about the closing process in Oregon, when buying a house.

What Is Escrow, Exactly?

The term “escrow” can refer to a process as well as the people who manage it. In Oregon, the escrow process refers to the sequence of events that take place between contact and closing. Once you have a signed purchase agreement with the seller, you will “enter escrow.” This period ends when you actually close on the home and receive ownership.

An Oregon escrow company acts as a neutral third party during this process. They will collect all of the necessary funds and documents needed to transfer the property from seller to buyer. They’ll also arrange the closing process and coordinate the paperwork signing with both buyer and seller. The escrow company is involved from the initial earnest money deposit all the way through to the signing of the deed.

Related: Oregon first-time buyer guide

How Does the Process Work in Oregon?

The escrow and closing process in Oregon can vary slightly from one transaction to the next, due to a variety of factors. But it usually goes something like this:

1. Open Escrow: The home buyer signs a purchase agreement / contract with the seller and makes an earnest money deposit. These documents and funds are usually delivered to the escrow or title company that has been chosen to handle the closing.

2. Title Search: The title is the official document that shows ownership of the property. As part of the Oregon escrow process, a title company will usually “inspect” the title to make sure that there is a clear chain of ownership, and that there aren’t any liens or court filings that could interfere with the sale of the home.

3. Document Preparation: The mortgage company will prepare loan documents and deliver them to the escrow agent or company. A hazard / home insurance binder will typically be delivered as well, when it becomes available. The escrow company will review all documents to ensure they are complete, and will also compute the buyer’s closing costs. The buyer will receive a closing disclosure shortly before escrow is scheduled to close; this document shows the actual amount that must be paid to close.

4. Closing: This is the final step in the Oregon escrow process. During the closing, the buyer will provide a check for the remaining amount that is due. Both parties, seller and buyer, will sign their respective documents. The title officer will update the status of the title to reflect the new owner. Loan documents will be returned to the lender after they’ve been signed. Shortly thereafter, the lender will release the funds.

How Long Does it Take to Close?

In Oregon, the escrow process generally takes somewhere around 30 – 40 days. It can take longer if the transaction is more complicated. It can also be quicker.

There are many variables that can affect the timeline. For example, title issues that require additional research can add extra days to the escrow process. A backlog at the title or escrow company can also lengthen the process.

As a home buyer, the best thing you can do during this process is to stay in close contact with your loan officer, and to handle any information requests in a timely fashion. This will help keep things on track.

This is a simplified version of the escrow process in Oregon. We omitted certain events, such as the home appraisal, for the sake of simplicity. Our goal here is to give you a general idea of what happens during the closing and escrow process in Oregon. You might encounter additional steps or requirements along the way, based on the details of your transaction.

Need a loan? Do you need mortgage financing to buy a home in Oregon? We can help. Sammamish Mortgage has been serving buyers across the state for more than 20 years. We offer competitive rates on a variety of loan products. Contact our staff with any questions you have, or to receive a rate quote.