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  • Writer's pictureKevin Peterson

Start of Escrow: The First 2 Weeks After Ratifying Your Purchase Agreement

Congratulations! Your Offer is Accepted! What’s Next?

You've just crossed a major milestone in your home buying journey: your offer has been accepted, and the contract is now ratified. It's a thrilling moment, and it's normal to feel a mix of excitement and anxiety as you prepare to make one of the biggest investments of your life.

As top realtors in the San Francisco Bay Area and mid-Peninsula, we're here to guide you through the next steps. To make things easier, we've created a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process smoothly and with as little stress as possible.

start of escrow -

Understanding Your Timeline

Welcome to the starting line for the Close of Escrow (COE). Here's a general timeline based on typical scenarios:

  • Standard Buyer with Pre-Approval: 30 days to secure your lender, wire funds into escrow, and record your name in public records.

  • Fully Approved Buyer: 14 to 21 days if you opted for a competitive close.

  • All Cash Buyer: 7 to 14 days until close.

Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) - Within 24-72 Hours

The first crucial step after your offer is accepted is making your earnest money deposit. Typically, this deposit is required within 24 hours, but check your Residential Purchase Agreement (RPA) under section 3 part D(1) to confirm the exact timeline. This deposit shows your commitment and secures your interest in the property.

If your offer is accepted on a Friday, don't worry if your bank is not open on Saturday to do the wire but do communicate this with the listing agent via your buyer's agent. Most sellers will expect the EMD by Monday.

Pro Tip:  Ensure you're ready to transfer the earnest money promptly, considering banking hours and potential delays (something you and your buyer's agent should have discussed prior to offering). If using retirement funds, allocate a few extra days for the transfer.

Seller's Ideal Timeline for the EMD?

As listing agents, aims to to ratify offers submitted by Thursdays. This enables funds to be wired (and cleared!) before the weekend. If for whatever reason the transaction falls through, we are ready to go back to market that weekend to avoid any delays in marketing.

Selecting a Lender - Within 2-3 Days

Many buyers stick with the lender they received pre-approval from, but it's smart to shop around for better rates or incentives after your offer is ratified. Take up to 48 hours to see if you can find a better deal.

Pro Tip: Be transparent with your buyer's agent. They can help you find the best rates and may even handle the shopping for you. At we work with top lenders to secure the best rates and ensure a smooth closing process.

Appraisal Ordered (by Lender) - Within 10 Days

An appraisal will be conducted within the first 10 days to determine the property's value. This is important because it confirms how much the bank will lend you. If the appraisal is lower than expected, you have options:

  • Dispute the appraised value

  • Change lenders

  • Accept the valuation and increase your down payment if needed

Pro Tip: Have your buyer's agent communicate with the listing agent about the comparables (comps) they used. Provide a short list to the appraiser, who typically spends only about 15 minutes at the property. Being prepared can make a significant difference.

Summary to the Start of Escrow

By following these steps and staying in close communication with your realtor and lender, you'll be well on your way to a smooth and successful closing.

Enjoy the journey to owning your new home!

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