Closing and recording

Updated 4 months ago ​by Open Listings

What it is: 
Closing and recording is the final step in the home buying process, when the property legally changes hands, occurs the moment the County Clerk date-stamps the property deed at the Recorder’s Office. 

This marks the official end of escrow, when the sale is complete and the keys can be handed over to the new owner. 

Escrow is an exciting time – a lot of things happen quickly in the last few days – but it is often filled with stress. If you understand the closing and recording process, you can ease some of the anxiety by knowing exactly what to expect:

  1. The Loan Officer advises all parties once the property appraisal has been made and the buyer’s financial records have been reviewed.
  2. The lender is now ready to “draw docs,” or arrange the deed, disclosures and other “docs” the buyer needs to sign.
  3. The Escrow Officer contacts the buyer to make an appointment to sign documents. Sign these as soon as possible.
  4. The signed documents are packaged with other relevant paperwork and sent to the lender, usually the next day.
  5. It then takes up to 72 hours for the lender to review and verify the documents, and to issue the funds to the Escrow Company.
  6. As stated, escrow is considered closed on the date the deed transfer is recorded at the County Hall of Records.
  7. The Title Officer notifies the Escrow Officer that the recording is complete, who in turn lets the buyer and seller know that all systems are go. The Title Company then transfers (by wire) all the money held from the lender to the Escrow Company.
  8. The Escrow Officer then pays off the seller’s mortgages and liens.
  9. The house officially belongs to the buyer – congratulations!

Be prepared for some fast-moving activity in the days leading up to closing and recording, so make yourself available on a moment’s notice.

The purchase contract typically indicates you can take possession at 5PM on the day of the close of escrow (i.e. when the recording takes place), unless otherwise stated. However, it is possible for the purchase contract to grant the seller an extra day or two to vacate the premises or to rent the property back to the seller under a separate rental agreement.