Throughout the process of buying or selling a home, you’ll hear three terms used to refer to the last stage of the process: Closing, settlement, or closing escrow.
Don’t worry about telling them apart: They all refer to the same event. That’s the day you sign all the paperwork and get the keys.
You’re most likely to hear the day referred to as “closing” or “closing day,” and your real estate agent may talk about “going to settlement.” At this time, ownership is officially transferred to the buyer. A third party – usually a settlement agent or attorney – will oversee the process to make sure it occurs according to the contract the buyer and seller has agreed upon.
The settlement agent is also responsible for making sure all funds are distributed to the right people and that the proper paperwork is filed with the right county offices. Closing is sometimes called “closing escrow” because it is the time when the escrow you opened earlier in the process is closed.