It’s easy to get confused when the terms closing (or settlement) agent, title agent, and escrow agent are thrown around when buying or selling real estate.
Knowing the role that each agent plays in the buying and selling of real estate can make the closing process easier to understand for consumers.
- Closing Agent (or Settlement Agent) – A closing agent is the person or company that handles, settles, and finalizes the actual real estate closing process. The closing agent prepares and obtains the signed closing documents. The closing agent works with the title agent to ensure that all of the title requirements are satisfied and confirms that the escrow agent has all of the required closing funds. From there, the closing agent records certain closing documents, including any deed of conveyance or mortgage, and circulates the final signed closing documents to the parties to the real estate transaction. In some states, the closing agent can also be the title agent and the escrow agent for the real estate transaction.
- Title Agent – A title agent is the person or company that reviews the title work for the real estate and issues the title insurance policy at the completion of the closing. The title agent will work with the closing agent’s office to ensure that all of the closing requirements are properly completed in order to insure the title to the real estate at the closing. In some states, the title agent can also be the closing agent and the escrow agent for the real estate transaction.
- Escrow Agent – An escrow agent is the person or company that holds the deposit and closing funds and disburses those funds upon the completion of the real estate closing by the closing agent. The escrow agent will work with the closing agent’s office to ensure the pre-funding aspects of the closing are completed, and once completed, the escrow agent can disburse the closing funds in accordance with the closing statement and other distribution instructions. In some states, the escrow agent can also be the closing agent and the title agent.