In property transactions, escrow officers act as the middleman between the seller, buyer and lender and facilitate the movement of funds according to the terms of the real estate contract. However, before becoming an escrow officer, many real estate professionals first learn the business and acquire experience working as an escrow coordinator or assistant. Working under the supervision of a manager, escrow coordinators become familiar with the legal documents and details involved in the escrow process.
Escrow coordinators help organize and file real estate contracts and other paperwork related to property sales. They also help coordinate the escrow process and provide administrative support to the different departments that handle real estate transactions. Escrow coordinators also communicate frequently with lenders, buyers, sellers, brokers, agents and title companies on the sale or refinancing of property. In addition to shadowing escrow officers, the coordinator helps them during the deal brokering process by preparing title reports and completing any forms required for the transfer of funds between a seller and buyer.
While most offices will accept candidates with a high school diploma and sufficient escrow training, legal firms may require a bachelor's degree in finance or accounting for escrow coordinator positions. Taking courses in business or real estate is common for escrow coordinators who want to progress to escrow officer positions or improve their customer services skills (See Resources).
Escrow coordinator jobs require basic computer skills and knowledge of Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Outlook and Excel. Candidates should be able to perform basic calculations, work well under pressure and meet tight deadlines. Some legal firms require that escrow coordinators be able to read and analyze banking forms, legal documents and financial statements. Escrow departments usually hire candidates with at least one to three years of experience working in the real estate or lending industry. In addition, escrow coordinators must work well with clients, attorneys and respond to common real estate inquiries over the phone and in writing.
As of April 2010, SimplyHired.com reported that the average salary of an escrow coordinator in the United States was $42,000. However, this figure varies according to level of experience, location and education. Escrow coordinators who are new to the escrow business or starting out in their careers may be paid an hourly wage. According to Education-portal.com, escrow assistants receive wages as low as $10 per hour before moving up to an escrow officer role.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects negative growth for escrow professionals between 2008 and 2018. The BLS cites factors such as the recent decline and volatility of the real estate market. Job opportunities will grow for escrow professionals when the real estate market recovers and property prices increase.
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