How to Become an Escrow Officer in 5 Steps
Research what it takes to become an escrow officer. Learn about education and licensure requirements, job duties and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Accounting & Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Is an Escrow Officer?
Escrow is a type of monetary transaction that involves passing money through a neutral third party; this third party is typically an escrow officer. In addition to passing along money, escrow officers are responsible for much of the paperwork required for a transaction. They insure mortgage holders get the required tax forms and make sure that all aspects of a transaction comply with the law. Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.
|Education Required||High school diploma|
|Key Skills||Customer service, organizational, computer, communication|
|Licensure Required||Licensure required in some states|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)||0% (for all title examiners, abstractors and searchers)*|
|Median Salary (2017)||$45,770**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com
What Does an Escrow Officer Do?
As an escrow officer you will act as a neutral third party in real estate transactions, holding payments while the transaction is finalized and confirming that the buyer and the seller fulfill all contracts before you release the funds. You will provide mortgage holders with all documentation regarding taxes and escrow for filing tax returns. Additionally, you will be responsible for reviewing regulatory documents and taking care of compliance. As an essential part of real estate transactions, it will be your job to ensure all parties receive fair treatment.
Step 1: Gain Education to be an Escrow Officer
No specific educational degree is required to become an escrow officer, although many professionals in the field have some background in real estate or commodities. Certain classes, such as real estate, business and law classes that apply to the field, will help you gain employment. Such courses are available at community colleges and universities. Many companies also have in-house training programs for those trying to break into the field.
Step 2: Obtain the Skills of an Escrow Officer
As an escrow officer you must possess strong customer service skills and flawless integrity. Most employers will require you to have organizational skills for administrative work and an understanding of relevant computer software, as you will be conducting title searches, preparing final paperwork and witnessing document signings. You must also have excellent communication skills and know when to follow up with clients.
Step 3: Determine if Licensure Is Required
Depending on which state you decide to work in, such as Washington, Texas or California, you may need to obtain an escrow officer license. Escrow licensing departments can be found in your state's departments of corporations, financial institutions or insurance. You may have to seek out the correct regulatory agency in your state.
Step 4: Get a Job as an Escrow Officer
Starting out as an escrow officer, you will most likely work with a real estate or title company. Companies specifically allowed to do escrow are determined by law and vary from state to state. Typically title insurance companies, underwriter companies, independent escrow companies, real estate brokers, attorneys and banks are allowed to provide escrow services. After gaining experience, you may open your own business.
Step 5: Become an Experienced Escrow Officer
To increase earning potential, you must be knowledgeable about escrow complexities, such as title defects, liens and encumbrances, to name a few. More experienced escrow officers are expected to have a wide range of professional contacts and an understanding of all the involved documents and procedures. To move ahead in the escrow market, you may need a bachelor's degree or comparable experience.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Since a large part of an escrow officers job is to insure all the proper taxes are being paid, there is similarity between their profession and that of a tax preparer. Their knowledge of real estate law also makes them comparable with paralegals and legal assistants. Escrow officers also need to have good bookkeeping skills like an accounting or auditing clerk, and many of the tasks they do are also done by legal secretaries.
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