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What Is Escrow?

It is customary and prudent for a buyer and seller to have a third, disinterested party to assist them in carrying out the terms of their agreement. In California, this procedure is known as an escrow. When opening an escrow, the buyer and seller establish terms and conditions for the transfer of ownership of property. Your escrow is created shortly after you execute the contract to purchase your home. The escrow becomes the depository for all monies, instructions and documents. The Escrow Officer has the responsibility of seeing that all terms of the escrow are carried out.

NOTE: In some states, the process of completing the purchase of a home is known as the “Settlement” process. Often the seller and buyer will come together at the Settlement table where documents are signed and exchanged. There may be a settlement attorney who facilitates this process. In California, the term “Escrow” is used to describe the process of completing the sale of property.

How does the escrow process work?
The escrow holds all monies, instructions and documents for the purchase of your home, including your down payment funds and your lender´s funds and documents for the new loan. The escrow officer takes instructions based on the terms of your purchase agreement and your lender´s requirements. The escrow officer can hold inspection reports and bills for work performed as required by your purchase agreement. Other elements of the escrow include hazard insurance, title insurance and the grant deed from the seller to you. Escrow cannot be completed until the instructions (requirements) have been satisfied, and all parties have signed escrow documents.
The escrow holder´s duties include:
• Serve as the neutral agent and the liaison between all parties involved.
• Prepare the escrow instructions.
• Request a Preliminary Title Search to determine the status of title to the property.
• Comply with the lender´s requirements as specified on its instructions to escrow.
• Receive and handle purchase funds from the buyer.
• Prepare or secure the deed and documents related to the escrow.
• Prorate taxes, interest, insurance and rents.
• Secure releases of all contingencies or other conditions imposed on the escrow.
• Record the deed and any other documents.
• Request title insurance policy.
• Close the escrow pursuant to instructions supplied by the seller, buyer and lender, if any.
• Disburse funds as authorized by the instructions, including charges for title insurance, recording fees, real estate commissions and loan payoffs.
• Prepare final statements for all parties involved that account for the disposition of all funds held in the escrow account.

How do I open an escrow?
Your real estate agent will open the escrow for you. As soon as you execute your purchase agreement, your deposit is given to the title company for deposit into the escrow account. How will you know where your money has gone? Written evidence of your deposit generally is included in your copy of your purchase contract. Your funds will then be deposited in your separate escrow or trust account and processed through your local bank.

Escrow Instructions
Escrow instructions define all the conditions that must occur before the transaction can be finalized. Your escrow instructions specify, in a debit and credit format, the disposition of your purchase funds. They also provide for title protection for your home.

What information will I have to provide?
You may be asked to complete a statement of identity. Because many people have the same name, the statement of identity is used to identify the specific person in the transaction through such information as date of birth, social security number, etc. This information is kept confidential.

How long is the escrow?
The length of an escrow is determined by the terms of the purchase agreement and can range from a few days to several months. On average, it takes 30 to 45 days.

Michelle Carr Crowe: Carrying the Torch

CUPERTINO − For many people, following in the professional footsteps of a parent can be a daunting prospect that provokes fears of falling short of elevated expectations. Michelle Carr Crowe experienced similar feelings when she was first considering a career in real estate, but with a little encouragement and a lot of hard work, she found herself not merely standing in her mother’s shadow but carrying the torch. “After several years in real estate, my mom had made a name for herself as the local ‘super-agent,’” she recounts. “She wanted me to get my real estate license and join her firm, but I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to live up to her prominent reputation. When I expressed my concern to her, she told me, ‘Michelle, you care about doing things right and being honest, and that’s more important than any amount of skill or ability. It may take you some time to learn the ropes, but you already have what matters most: a caring heart.’”

Today, nearly 30 years after obtaining her real estate license, Michelle still takes pride in carrying on her mother’s professional legacy. “I’m continuing my family’s good work and helping local families make the right choices when it comes to buying and selling their homes,” she says. “I truly enjoy guiding my clients through the process toward positive, often life-changing outcomes.”

A lifetime resident of the Silicon Valley (where she lives with her husband, Steven), Michelle describes her locale as an ideal place to raise children. “I think life in the Silicon Valley prepares young people for what the world is really like,” she says. “In order to succeed in the world, children need to learn how to live alongside and collaborate with all kinds of people, which is why I think living in such a diverse area has been a valuable experience for both me and my kids.”

Outside of work, Michelle engages in a wide range of pastimes, from reading and going on nature walks to spending time with friends and family. “I’m an avid reader, and I take every chance I get to go to the library,” she says. “I also like to go on walks through the redwoods and hikes on local mountain trails.” In addition to personal hobbies, Michelle takes time to keep up with her two grown daughters, Marlene and Monique.

Michelle credits much of her professional success to her ability to keep the best interests of her clients at the forefront. “Sadly, there are a lot of people in this business who only care about getting deals through and not about what’s best for their clients,” she says. “This was actually one of my motivations for becoming an agent—I wanted to save people from the bad guys! After 29 years, I can say confidently that when you do everything with the client’s best interests in mind, everyone wins.”

When asked the first thing she’d do if she could retire tomorrow, Michelle says she would take the first flight to Hawaii. “Hawaii is my favorite place, and I like to think that I run my business in accordance with the ‘aloha spirit.’ Spending time there is a very healing experience for me, and it enables me to return to work refreshed and rejuvenated.”

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5 Things to Do Before You Sell

Here are 5 Things to Do Before You Sell

  1. Get estimates from a reliable repair person on items that need to be replaced soon, such as a roof or worn carpeting, for example. In this way, buyers will have a better sense of how much these needed repairs will affect their costs.
  2. Have a termite inspection to prove to buyers that the property is not infested.
  3. Get a pre-sale home inspection so you’ll be able to make repairs before buyers become concerned and cancel a contract.
  4. Gather together warranties and guarantees on the furnace, appliances, and other items that will remain with the house.
  5. Fill out a disclosure form provided by your sales associate. Take the time to be sure that you don’t forget problems, however minor, that might create liability for you after the sale.

Understanding Agency

It ́s important to understand what legal responsibilities your real estate sales person has to you and to other parties in the transactions. Ask your salesperson to explain what type of agency relationship you have with him or her and with the brokerage company.

1. Seller’s representative (also known as a listing agent or seller’s agent).

A seller’s agent is hired by and represents the seller. All fiduciary duties are owed to the seller. The agency relationship usually is created by a listing contract.

2. Subagent.

A subagent owes the same fiduciary duties to the agent’s principal as the agent does. Subagency usually arises when a cooperating sales associate from another brokerage, who is not representing the buyer as a buyer ́s representative or operating in a nonagency relationship, shows property to a buyer. In such a case, the subagent works with the buyer as a customer but owes fiduciary duties to the listing broker and the seller.

Although a subagent cannot assist the buyer in any way that would be detrimental to the seller, a buyer-customer can expect to be treated honestly by the subagent. It is important that subagents fully explain their duties to buyers.

3. Buyer’s representative (also known as a buyer ́s agent).

A real estate licensee who is hired by prospective buyers to represent them in a real estate transaction. The buyer’s rep works in the buyer’s best interest throughout the transaction and owes fiduciary duties to the buyer. The buyer can pay the licensee directly through a negotiated fee, or the buyer’s rep may be paid by the seller or by a commission split with the listing broker.

4. Disclosed dual agent.

Dual agency is a relationship in which the brokerage firm represents both the buyer and the seller in the same real estate transaction. Disclosed dual agency, in which both the buyer and the seller are told that the agent is representing both of them, is legal in most states. In many states, consent for dual agency must be in writing. Dual agency relationships do not carry with them all of the traditional fiduciary duties to the clients. Instead, dual agents owe limited fiduciary duties. Because of the potential for conflicts of interest in a dual-agency relationship, it’s vital that all parties give their informed consent.

5. Designated agent (also called, among other things, appointed agency).

This is a brokerage practice that allows the managing broker to designate which licensees in the brokerage will act as an agent of the seller and which will act as an agent of the buyer. Designated agency avoids the problem of creating a dual-agency relationship for licensees at the brokerage. The designated agents give their clients full representation, with all of the attendant fiduciary duties. The broker still has the responsibility of supervising both groups of licensees.

6. Nonagency relationship (called, among other things, a transaction broker or facilitator).

Some states permit a real estate licensee to have a type of nonagency relationship with a consumer. These relationships vary considerably from state to state, both as to the duties owed to the consumer and the name used to describe them. Very generally, the duties owed to the consumer in a nonagency relationship are less than the complete, traditional fiduciary duties of an agency relationship.

Aloha & God Bless You,
Michelle C. Carr-Crowe and the Get RE$ult$ Team, ABR, ALHS, CDPE, RECS, SRES
Top 5% Silicon Valley Residential Real Estate Agent

San Jose Saratoga Lynbrook Homes & Cupertino Schools Experienced Experts

Just Call … (408) 252-8900



Mistake #1 — Pricing Your Property Too High

Every seller obviously wants to get the most money for his or her product. Ironically, the best way to do this is NOT to list your product at an excessively high price! A high listing price will cause some prospective buyers to lose interest before even seeing your property. Also, it may lead other buyers to expect more than what you have to offer. As a result, overpriced properties tend to take an unusually long time to sell, and they end up being sold at a lower price.

Mistake #2 — Mistaking Re-finance Appraisals for the Market Value

Unfortunately, a re-finance appraisal may have been stated at an untruthfully high price. Often, lenders estimate the value of your property to be higher than it actually is in order to encourage re-financing. The market value of your home could actually be lower.

Your best bet is to ask your REALTOR® for the most recent information regarding property sales in your community. This will give you an up-to-date and factually accurate estimate of your property value.

Mistake #3 — Forgetting to “Showcase Your Home”

In spite of how frequently this mistake is addressed and how simple it is to avoid, its prevalence is still widespread. When attempting to sell your home to prospective buyers, do not forget to make your home look as pleasant as possible. Make necessary repairs. Clean. Make sure everything functions and looks presentable. A poorly kept home in need of repairs will surely lower the selling price of your property and will even turn away some buyers.

Mistake #4 — Trying to “Hard Sell” While Showing

Buying a house is always an emotional and difficult decision. Do allow prospective buyers to comfortably examine your property. Do not try haggling or forcefully selling. (Remember you hired your agent to negotiate for you.)

Instead, be friendly and hospitable. A good idea would be to point out any subtle amenities and be receptive to questions.

Mistake #5 — Trying to Sell to “Looky-Loos”

A prospective buyer who shows interest because of a “for sale” sign he saw may not really be interested in your property. Often buyers who do not come through a REALTOR® are a good 6-9 months away from buying, and they are more interested in seeing what is out there than in actually making a purchase. They may still have to sell their house, or may not be able to afford a house yet. They may still even be ensure as to whether or not they want to relocate. Even worse, they may be your potential competitors!

An experienced REALTOR® can distinguish realistic potential buyers from mere lookers. REALTOR®s request a prospective buyer’s ability to purchase, including savings, credit rating, and purchasing power or pre-approval for a loan. If your REALTOR® fails to find out this pertinent information, you should do some investigating and questioning on your own. This will help you avoid wasting valuable time marketing towards the wrong people. If you have to do this work yourself, consider finding a new REALTOR®.

Mistake #6 — Not Knowing Your Rights & Responsibilities

It is extremely important that you are well-informed of the details in your real estate contract. Real estate contracts are legally binding documents, and they can often be complex and confusing.

Not being aware of the terms in your contract could cost you thousands for repairs and inspections. Know what you are responsible for before signing the contract. Can the property be sold “as is”? How will deed restrictions and local zoning laws affect your transaction? Not knowing the answers to these kinds of questions could end up costing you a considerable amount of money.

Mistake #7 — Limiting the Marketing and Advertising of the Property

Your REALTOR® should employ a wide variety of marketing techniques. Your REALTOR® should also be committed to selling your property; he or she should be available for phone calls and showing requests from prospective buyers.

Most calls are received, and open houses are scheduled, during business hours Monday through Friday, as well as on weekends, so make sure that your REALTOR® is working on selling your home during these times. Chances are that you have a job, too, so you need a full time REALTOR® able to get in touch with many potential buyers.

Come back for more great information on buying a home, selling a home and investing in real estate soon! Subscribe to my blog at


5 Factors That Decide Your Credit Score

Credit scores range between 200 and 800. Scores above 620 are considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage. These factors will affect your score.

  1. Your payment history. Whether you paid credit card obligations on time.
  2. How much you owe. Owing a great deal of money on numerous accounts can indicate that you are overextended.
  3. The length of your credit history. In general, the longer the better.
  4. How much new credit you have. New credit, either installment payments or new credit cards, are considered more risky, even if you pay promptly.
  5. The types of credit you use. Generally, it ́s desirable to have more than one type of credit-installment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage, for example.

For more on evaluating and understanding your credit score, go to

3 All-Cash Buyers Want San Jose Lynbrook High Homes Today

How does $1 million (or more) all cash sound for a Lynbrook High Home in San Jose, Calif.? All cash sounds pretty good to most Silicon Valley home sellers today.

The market for homes in Cupertino Schools (Lynbrook High, Homestead High, Fremont High, Cupertino High and Monta Vista High) is heating up.

Part of the reason is the low inventory. Another is the low interest rates. It helps that the Wall Street Journal recently reported 44 out of 47 economists now predict the housing bust is over.

Regardless of the reasons, the fact is we have 3 All-Cash Ready to Act Now Buyers eagerly wanting to buy Lynbrook High Homes in West San Jose, California today.

Who’s the next person you know who’s thinking of selling a home inthe next 30-90 days? Just Call 408-252-8900 for a free, confidential and no-cost, no- obligation market analysis of your home’s value.

Visit and complete the home value request form to initiate the process.

Thank you for helping the people you care about find great buyers for their homes!

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