Before a real estate deal is finalized, it must enter the escrow process to ensure that property titles are clear, outstanding debt is paid, and the buyer and seller have fulfilled their obligations according the real estate agreement. Escrow officers must perform their jobs carefully and responsibly, as they are the point persons who decide when to deposit the funds and process the legal paperwork necessary to close real estate transactions.
Escrow officers are responsible for facilitating the hold and transfer of funds for buyers, sellers and lenders. These transactions usually involve real estate property, where escrow managers act as an intermediary between different parties. Escrow manager duties include reviewing real estate contracts and deeds, as well as helping buyers secure real estate financing to pay off mortgages. These professionals must make sure that all parties fulfill their legal and financial obligations before funds are disbursed and escrow transactions are completed.
Escrow officer positions do not have formal educational requirements. Professionals usually begin their careers in an escrow assistant or coordinator role, and advance to an escrow officer position after one to three years of employment. Employers look for candidates with a successful track record in the escrow industry and expertise in a variety of escrow product areas. Escrow professionals also supplement their education by taking college courses in business administration, real estate, statistics and finance.
Escrow officers should have good client relations, computer and organizational skills. Candidates must also be detail-oriented, trustworthy and professional when dealing with sensitive and confidential real estate transaction information. Strong interpersonal and oral communication abilities are needed to deal with multiple personalities and roles such as real estate sellers, buyers, agents and brokers.
The average salary for escrow officers fell between $34,008 and $49,933 according to a May 2010 PayScale report. Bonuses ranged between $988 and $5,199. However, escrow officer compensation varies depending on location and commission pay rates. For example, PayScale states that the average pay range for commission was between $2,500 and $16,000. A November 2009 Salary.com report lists the average salary for a U.S. escrow officer as $40,740.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), real estate professions will increase by 14 percent between 2008 and 2018 due to changing demographics and a growing U.S. population. The BLS also attributes this growth to buyers’ desire for home ownership and the commonly held belief that real estate is a solid long-term investment. Job openings created as a result of workers exiting the workforce will also drive employment for real estate professionals who are well trained and possess strong business networks.
- Photo Credit real estate contract image by Keith Frith from Fotolia.com
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