Prior to finalizing real estate deals, buyers and sellers must go through escrow to ensure that all parties have fulfilled their financial and legal obligations. While escrow officers oversee the escrow process and manage client relationships, escrow assistants process the paperwork necessary to close the transaction. Typically, employers prefer candidates with high school degrees and formal training in an escrow or real estate office. Escrow assistants with professional certification or an associate's degree can position themselves for jobs with higher pay and more advancement opportunities.
The average salary for escrow assistants was $36,000 according to a July 2011 Simply Hired report. As the administrative assistants to escrow officers, escrow assistants collect, prepare and assemble title reports, loan applications, trust agreements and other real estate documents. If paperwork is missing, escrow assistants are responsible for following up with clients to check the status, or requesting items from third parties such as banks. Escrow assistants are also paid to maintain and update client records during the escrow process, as well as open and close client accounts. Excellent communication, project management and customer service skills are required for most escrow assistant jobs.
Average salaries for escrow assistants working in major metropolitan cities were significantly higher than the national average, according to a July 2011 Salary Expert report. For example, escrow assistants working in Houston averaged a salary of $61,432 per year. In Chicago, escrow assistants reported an average annual wage of $59,996 per year. New York City escrow assistants averaged $55,247 per year. Escrow assistants also averaged $48,225 in Phoenix, $36,423 in Charlotte and $43,927 in Orlando.
With adequate experience and continuing education, escrow assistants can transition into escrow officer positions. Although no formal education requirements exist for escrow roles, college degrees in business administration, legal assisting and related disciplines also help prepare assistants for managerial roles. Duties for escrow officers and managers include reviewing and preparing escrow agreements and contracts, as well as releasing funds to banks and other designated parties. Simply Hired revealed that the average salary for escrow officers was $48,000, as of July 2011.
While overall job growth for administrative assistants and secretaries is expected to rise 11 percent through 2018, real estate positions are projected to increase 14 percent during the same period according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Similar to other jobs within the real estate business, employment of escrow assistants is dependent on economic growth. Nevertheless, the BLS projects that U.S. residents will continue to seek home ownership, and drive demand for escrow professionals and other real estate workers. Moreover, escrow assistants will be needed to replace aging workers, as well as those moving to other sectors.