The escrow process, also known as closing, is the last phase you need to go through before you acquire title to your new property. You will not have to go through this process alone, your real estate agent, lender, title agent and closing agent will all be involved in order to make sure that the transaction has been accurately administered. However, aside from all the help that you will get, you should still understand escrow in order to get the best deal.

1. What Escrow Agents do: Escrow agents are hired as third party officers who are responsible for escrow work, financing, transaction instructions, mortgage refinancing and other title transfer, and all other paperwork related to the home purchase. Escrow agents do not provide any information or advice to home buyers, they are involved for the sole purpose of safeguarding documents, and to make sure that everything is filed in a timely manner.

2. What title companies do: Title companies are in charge of clearing any encumbrances, which includes; fraud, forgeries, judgments, and liens. Once the title is clear, the title company issues an insurance policy to protect the buyer and lender in case any issues over the property arise in the future.

3. How to find good Escrow Agents: It is important that you are looking to a hire a good escrow officer and not hire one based on the company they work for. Your real estate agent will probably refer a closing agent. Aside from taking their suggestion as one of your options, you should also ask around, see if your family members, friends, and co-workers have a closing agent to refer. When choosing an escrow agent, make sure that they are familiar with the location and the type of home you are buying; procedures slightly differ for condos, multiplexes, and historic homes.

4. How to find the best deal: To get the best deal for the title and escrow services you should shop around, this includes browsing the net. Factors that you should compare are listed below:

- Look at the escrow service fees, and insurance premiums
- See if there are any discounts available for refinance-related transactions and sales if the same lender, title and escrow services are used.
- Check if there are any incidental fees for wire transfers, copying, faxing, and courier fees.
- Check if the buyer or the seller pay these fees.

You should be aware of the fact that all of these fees (title, escrow, and lender fees) will be included in the HUD-1. Although they all appear on the same document title and escrow fees are in no way related to the home loan fees.