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The earnest money deposit is an important part of the home buying process. It tells the seller you are a committed buyer, and it helps fund your down payment.

Like many professional agencies like engineers, doctors and lawyers, escrow firms are regulated in a variety of ways. This is a good way to keep the general public from being scammed, cheated or taken advantage of by an unscrupulous Realtor, bank, selling or buying party.

In the great state of California, every escrow company falls into one of two types: "Licensed" or "Controlled." The California Department of Business Oversight provides the imprimatur of a license to independent businesses like Sterling West Escrow, which allows the enforcement of stringent requirements enacted by the lawmakers to protect people in one of the largest financial transactions they'll ever make.

Escrow AccountWhen buying a home, there are many steps and important tasks that must be undertaken prior to finalizing the transaction. Not following the proper procedures or neglecting any requirements can have a significant impact on what could be a fairly smooth process.

Keeping track of all the procedures can be overwhelming for the layperson. Fees must be paid for various services related to the purchase, documents gathered by both buyer and seller, and funds secured from the buyer and held until they are transferred to the seller on closing day. The process is complicated and time consuming for any parties that aren’t conversant with the intricacies of a real estate deal.

Buying a HouseAnyone who has ever purchased a house is familiar with the number of documents that must be signed in order to complete the transaction and obtain the keys to the property after the escrow process is finalized (read more on how to choose a trustworthy escrow company first). First-time buyers, however, are often surprised by the amount of paperwork that is involved and may be confused about the purpose of each document. Buying a house in Los Angeles is certainly very exciting. Still, it is important to know what to expect in terms of necessary paperwork in order to be sure you are fully prepared for the process you are about to undertake.

Phishing scams are a problem in the real estate community - read what the California Escrow Association has to say about the importance of implementing preventative policies so it doesn't happen to you!