Your Escrow and You
A closing statement is an accounting, in writing, prepared at the close of escrow which sets forth the charges and credits of your account. The items shown on the statement will reflect the purchase price, the funds deposited or credited to your account, payoffs on existing encumbrances and/or liens, the costs for all services and a determination of the funds you are entitled to at the close of the escrow. When you receive your closing papers, review the closing statement; it is extremely logical and reflects the financial aspects of your transaction. If anything does not make sense to you, you should ask your escrow officer for an explanation.
When going through your closing papers, examine all of them; there may even be a refund check hiding in there. Cash the check quickly, please. Be sure to have the check properly endorsed. All payees must endorse the check. This will eliminate the check being returned unpaid due to irregular or missing endorsements.
Your closing statement and all other escrow papers should be kept virtually forever for income tax purposes.
Your accountant will need the information about the sale or purchase of the property. IRS and other agencies may require you to prove your costs and/or profit on the sale of any property. The closing statement will assist in this task.
Do not rely on your escrow holder retaining the escrow file so that you can "always call and get copies of the closing statement." Most escrow holders will be destroying the files after the statutory retention period, usually five years. Maintaining and storing the closed escrow files is a costly endeavor to the escrow holder. Therefore, a nominal fee may be charged by your escrow holder for the retrieval of a file from storage, photocopying the requested documents and returning the file to storage.
Escrow fees are not regulated by the State. Escrow holder, like any other businesses, will charge fees that are commensurate with the costs of producing the service, the liability undertaken, and the overhead expenses which include a profit factor. Therefore, the fees will vary between companies and from county to county. Normally, the escrow holder will follow its minimum fee schedule, which will provide for extra charges based upon the differing elements of your escrow. On occasions, an additional fee will be charged for unusual expenditures of time on a given transaction.
The escrow holder has no control over the costs of other services that are obtained, such as the title insurance policy, the lender's charges, insurance, recording charges, etc.
Your escrow officer, upon request, can provide you with an estimate of the escrow fees and costs as well as fees charged by others, provided such information is available.