El Dorado Hills - Homes & News - DeeDee Riley Realtor: When do we get the keys to our home?

When do we get the keys to our home?

When do we get the keys to our home?
There is a lot to the escrow process here in our area and I often get the question, "When do we get the keys to our home?"  Unlike other states where you basically exchange the money for the keys, a buyer here in Northern California doesn't get the keys till the new deed is recorded and the close of escrow is official.
 Keys to your home
Our escrow process starts once the purchase contract is accepted by all parties.  Escrow is opened with the title company designated and agreed upon by the buyer and seller in the contract.  In southern CA the title company and escrow company are separate entities but her in northern CA they are handled by the same person.  A good escrow officer is worth their weight in gold.  They do many things during the escrow process  and not all are mentioned here but this will give you an idea. 
Once escrow is opened, the escrow/title officer goes to work to clear the title of the property of any liens or issues that are the responsibility of the current owner starting with the preliminary title report. They order the CC&Rs if the title report shows there are any for the buyer's review.  They get the pay off amounts from the current mortgages the seller has as they will pay the banks off when the money from the buyer comes in at the end of the escrow period. They collect amounts owed for property taxes as they are prorated and each party will pay their share. They collect the earnest money deposit from the buyer to hold for the transaction as part of the buyers down payment.  
If the buyers will be getting a loan to fund part of their purchase, the escrow officer works with the lender to provide the fees the buyer will be responsible for, ie. HOA fees, escrow fees, title insurance fees, notary fees, property taxes. The lender provides the escrow officer with their fees such as loan origination, loan processing, credit report, appraisal. Once the loan is ready, the lender sends the loan documents to the title company where the title/escrow officer prepares them for the buyer to sign.  
When it gets toward the end of the escrow process and all the information has been gathered, the escrow officer prepares an estimated net sheet, sometimes called an estimated settlement statement.  for the buyer and one for the seller that balances the money coming in with what each party needs to pay.  The buyer ends up with a figure that they will need to bring to close the transaction.  This generally includes the rest of their down payment money plus any fees on their part. These funds need to be either in the form of a cashier's check or a wire transfer.  The seller ends up with an amount they will net after paying their mortgages (if any) and fees on their part.  Once escrow is closed, the escrow officer will pay out or settle the debts owed to the various entities. 
The escrow officer sets up appointments for the buyer and the seller to sign their perspective paperwork.  If the buyer is getting a loan, their loan docs are sent back to the bank for one final review.  Once cleared the bank sends their loan funds to the title company.  We call this "funding the loan".  
When the funds are all at the title company, the escrow is cleared for recording at the county.  The title company gets a call when the new deed is on record.  The close of escrow is official and keys can be given to the buyer for their home.    




I am a REALTOR® in El Dorado Hills with Lyon Real Estate. I love living in El Dorado Hills, where homes with views have become my passion. Working with both buyers and sellers, my concentration on homes for sale includes not only El Dorado Hills, but also Folsom and the Cameron Park vicinity. For more information on me or our wonderful area visit my website at www.DeeDeeRiley.com or email me at driley@golyon.com. When you're ready to sell or buy a home – I would love to help! To read what my clients have to say about me and my service, visit my Client Testimonial page.

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By DeeDee Riley 2013 *All Rights Reserved*When do we get the keys to our home?




DeeDee Riley - El Dorado Hills Realtor - Lyon Real Estate - CABRE#01499004


When you're ready to sell or buy a home; I would love to help! To read what my clients have to say about me and my service, visit my Client Testimonial page.

If you like what you're seeing here please come back!!!

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Comment balloon 25 commentsDeeDee Riley • September 27 2013 01:34PM


A great explanation, DeeDee.

  Here in Florida, the Title Attorney or Title Company usually hands the keys to the Buyer at the Closing Table. 

     Typically, both Buyer and Seller are at the Table.   After the paperwork is signed, The Seller is handed a check or wire transfer receipt for the Seller's net proceeds.   The Buyer is asked to physically touch the Deed ("deliverance and acceptance"), then the Buyer gets the Keys. The Title Attorney will later have the Deed taken to the Courthouse by a runner or staff member.

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) about 5 years ago

DeeDee - This is why real estate is local and it is so important to work with a local real estate professional like yourself that takes the time to walk a buyer through the process and explain important steps, like when does a buyer get the keys to their new home!

Posted by Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale www.TahoeLauraLuxuryHomes.com, Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers (Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260) about 5 years ago

Now, if it could just always be that simple... ;)

Posted by Lauren Selinsky Broker CRS, "Your California Real Estate Broker" TM #oclauren (California Coastal Estates) about 5 years ago

Dee Dee, it's fun to read about real estate rituals in other parts of the country.  Here, we give buyers the keys when they cough up the certified funds.  

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 5 years ago

And let's not forget those agents who gave the keys to the buyers days ago and the buyers are already half moved in when the loan funds. I see this happening every now and then, and I just shake my head, take my empty lockbox and go home.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (Lyon Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Oh my -- what happens to the buyers while they are waiting for the deed to be recorded.  In new Hampshire, they get the keys at the closing and they can start moving in right away.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) about 5 years ago

After Recording of the DEED..


Posted by Ginger Harper, Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County! (Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage) about 5 years ago

The keys are delivered when . . . escrow closes.  And we are similiar with our escrow, but title is separate, under the same roof though, not a different company, but we do have a title officer and escrow doesn't do title work.

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) about 5 years ago

In South Carolina Key's are turned over after it records. Some agents give them before But that just opens everyone up to liability.

Posted by Christine House, Century 21 Broadhurst & Associates (Century 21 Broadhurst & Associates) about 5 years ago

I havae had people wonder why they can not have the keys to the house before closing. 

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) about 5 years ago


Good overview of the escrow/title process. I find it interesting how different things are from where I am in SoCal to your area. And even more different than many other states.

But things seem to be the same with regard to recording and handing over the keys


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) about 5 years ago

Good information for home buyers in your area. In Pa we give the keys when escrow closes.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 5 years ago


It's a large and diverse industry, with a lot of different practices. In the end though, the result is the same new owners in their new house.

Coming from a State where the keys are turned over at settlement, I can't imagine working with your escrow practice.


Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 5 years ago

Dee Dee, it is interesting how something like turning over the keys to the new owner differs in different parts of the Country. Here the keys are turned over at the closing table.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 5 years ago

In North Carolina techincally keys shouldn't be passed until the sale is recorded at the County courthouse. In South Carolina, so long as all parties have signed and closing attorney has received money from the lender and the buyer, it's considered a closed sale.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | Charlotte, NC) about 5 years ago

DeeDee, in Texas, Buyers are provided with keys as soon as documnets are signed and the loan is funded, or the cash is in the bank.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) about 5 years ago

Double D (DD)

Until escrow closes....what do we really have? I know the thrill of wanting to move in and that first night in the new place...it is just beyond words and I recommend it all but, lets proceed in an ordelry fashion...

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 5 years ago

Great explanation DeeDee.

Congrats on the featured post!

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) about 5 years ago

Good post here, DeeDee.  It's actually a more question than people may think.  I know in our area, sometimes buyers (and their agents) think the keys should be given to them at the final walk through - WRONG.  Once the closing has completed and title conveyed, the keys are theirs.

Posted by Matt Kombrink, Your #1 Source For Real Estate (RE/MAX All Pro) about 5 years ago

DeeDee, here in CT, the keys are given over once all the papers are signed. The title search would have shown any title issues and the lawyers will get the deed recorded within a few days after the closing

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) about 5 years ago


Your way sounds so much friendlier.  I wonder if our repuation as a "Sue Happy State" hasn't pushed us to this point.  So many realtors don't ever want the seller and buyer to meet.  Sad!  Thanks for your comment.

Posted by DeeDee Riley, Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas (Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA) about 5 years ago

Thank you all for your comments!

Laura - Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment!  Have a great day!!

Lauren - In theory right?!! Variables are endless!

Pat - I wish it were that way here.  It can take a couple days here from that point! It unnerves many buyers.

Elizabeth - Yes, have had that happen and it was pretty scary for me.  Luckily the seller was not so concerned. 

Joan - They wait nervously, I'm sure!  Like your way, and from what I'm reading a lot of other states, much better.  

Ginger - Not sure why we have to wait for the recording but yes.

Carla - That may be more like Southern CA operates.  

Christine - Happens here as well!  

Bill - All the technicalities!

Jeff - Not until the REO properties where many of the banks used SoCal Title companies did I understand it was different there.  Just assumed all of CA was the same. 

Gita - PA is like us in that respect then! Thanks for stopping by!

Rich - Wish ours was more like yours! The signing is a happy time but then we still have to wait!

Michael - Seems like many states turn the keys over at the closing table.  Makes me wonder if it use to be like that here in CA at one time.

Nina - Very interesting.  Seems the recording part is just a technicality anyway!

Sharon - As it should be! 

Richie - I wonder if there were many times when the recording didn't happen for some reason and this is just to assure that it always does now!

Tom - Thanks so much!

Matt - The final walk-thru here can happen within 5 days of COE.  Can you imagine?  The funds don't even need to be there are most of the aren't at that time!

Ed - That seems fair to me!

Thanks again all of you!  Have a wonderful day!!!


Posted by DeeDee Riley, Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas (Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA) about 5 years ago

DeeDee, love that happy ending - and Kodak moments (most of the time, of course!)

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) about 5 years ago

Great way to get folks to read and understand the escrow process.  Every so often I've had folks want keys early - which can be a big no-no in many cases.  Wait till escrow closes.

Posted by Bryan Robertson, Broker, Author, Speaker (Intero Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Dee thanks for showing us when the buyers would get the keys to their new home.  That process would not work  here, if the government office is backed up the buyer would be waiting for a while.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) about 5 years ago