It’s important to understand the property has not sold until the title has been recorded with the city of San Diego. During the escrow period, you rely on the buyer and their agent to get you there.

Beginning Escrow

With the buyer secured under contract, you will begin the last stages of the selling process by submitting the executed contract to the escrow officer noted in the agreement. Escrow is a neutral party that collects the required funds and documents involved in the closing process; initial deposit, purchase agreement, loan docs and any required addendum’s that may affect closing.

Another important thing to mention is the deposit. The buyer typically has three days to turn in the earnest money deposit, unless negotiated otherwise. It is crucial that the buyer follows each timeline while in escrow to avoid any delays.

Inspections and Disclosures

The first two weeks of escrow are going to seem never ending with the amount of disclosures you have to sign and the amount of inspections the buyer will complete.  The two most important disclosures in a standard sale are the transfer disclosure statement, and seller questionnaire. These documents are pretty self-explanatory. One confirms everything that will be transferred with the property, and the other asks a bunch of question pertaining to the property. Some of these questions concern recent home improvements, past or current leaks, noise, insurance claims…etc. Your broker will assist you in completing all the disclosure needed in order to obey the law.

The different types of inspections ordered by the buyer will depend on the home itself. Buyers purchasing an older property will likely have the roof inspected along with the main plumbing drain line. Properties that sit on large lots like you see in Rancho Santa Fe, will most likely have the lot surveyed to confirm the current property line is accurate.


The bank providing the mortgage will order an appraisal on the property to insure their financial interest is protected in case the buyer forecloses in the future.

Two things can ultimately happen during an appraisal – (1) it can be appraised to value or (2) it can be under appraised. At times of rapid appreciation or lack of comps, it is not uncommon for an appraisal to come back under appraised. If the buyer’s appraisal came back lower than the value you have a few options. The best option for both parties is to have the property reappraised with another company. Appraisers are not all equal in terms of knowledge of a certain development or zip codes, so ordering another appraisal will likely favor both parties if the price of the home is actually priced well.


The contingency period allows the buyer to inspect the home for any defects while getting approved for their loan. During this time, the buyer has the option to withdraw from the deal without any penalty if their contingencies have not been released. The timeline can vary depending on what was mutually agreed by both parties in the contract.
The most common contingencies are:

  • Loan
  • Appraisal
  • Inspection & Disclosures

It is very important to note that the contingency period does not automatically get released once the date has passed. The buyer has to actually sign off on all contingencies in order for them to be released. Having a delay in appraisal or inspection will likely cause the buyer to hold off on signing the releasing contingency to protect themselves, in case they need to withdraw from the deal. Having a knowledgeable broker will help you manage this by staying ahead of any issues that would cause the buyer to delay.

Closing Cost

Closing costs are negotiated prior to entering escrow. Some of the seller’s closing costs can include a home warranty for the buyer, real estate transfer tax, 50% of escrow fee, pest inspection, section one termite clearance, and commissions. Make sure to read through your contract and ask your broker to send you an estimated closing cost statement. You will also receive an escrow packet that goes over all the transferring details along with closing cost expected charges.