When buying or refinancing a home, the close of escrow is your ultimate goal. At closing, you will sign all of the loan paperwork and finalize your loan. However, closing can't take place unless the escrow holder has your cash in hand by the deadline. Depending on your escrow company's preferences, you may need to wire down payment money into an account before a certain time or bring a check with you to closing.
If your escrow holder wants you to wire your down payment to the escrow account, you must typically have the money in the account before your scheduled closing. Some escrow holders may want you to put the funds into the account even earlier, such as one business day before closing, just to make sure that everything runs smoothly. To ensure that your money makes it into the account by your escrow holder's deadline, you need to finish the transfer before your bank's cutoff time on that day.
If you're paying your down payment and other closing costs with a cashier's check or certified check, you can either bring it with you to closing or give it to the escrow holder the day before closing. While some escrow holders will accept a check in hand at closing, others won't close the loan until they have deposited the cashier's check into the escrow account and the funds have cleared. It can take up to 24 hours for a check to clear after deposit, so give the check to your escrow holder as early as possible if the funds need to clear before closing.
Some escrow holders will take personal checks for closing funds. However, because personal checks are more likely to bounce, your escrow holder will probably want to deposit the check and see the funds in the account before closing the loan. This process can take up to seven business days. To prevent delays, avoid using personal checks or turn them into the escrow holder well in advance of the closing date.
Not all escrow holders have the same policies when it comes to deposits, so contact the company handling your loan for specific instructions. If you will be wiring money to the escrow account, be sure to get the account number and routing number from the escrow company to speed up the process. Cutoff times for wire transfers vary by bank, so call your bank ahead of time to find out when you need to send the money.