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Being an escrow officer is a respectable profession in the real estate industry. To help you better understand this occupation, I spent hours going through the Arizona State Legislature and the Arizona Department of Financial Institution’s website.
To become an escrow officer in Arizona, you must:
- Complete the Biographical Statement;
- Conduct a Background Check;
- Fulfill the Financial Requirement;
- Provide the Escrow Services Rate;
- Obtain a $10,000 Surety Bond;
- Submit the Application and the $1000 license fee;
So what does an escrow officer do? An escrow officer is an unbiased third party working between a buyer and seller in a real estate transaction. Your role is to secure the property and review documents to ensure the terms of the sale are fulfilled on each end. You will hold the funding and distribute them accordingly once all the required documents are validated.
In this guide, you’ll find out the steps to become an escrow officer in Arizona, income updates, and FAQ about this profession. I’m confident that this valuable info may lead you to make a better-informed career decision.
Throughout this guide, I will use the terms “Escrow Agent” and “Escrow Officer” interchangeably, and they both refer to the party that provides escrow services.
But before we start, I want to give a brief disclaimer. This post is not intended as legal advice or state/federal escrow training. It is for general information only. Please check with your state whether escrow officers/agents are utilized in the closing process. Always follow your State laws and best practices.
- A Table Summary to Become an Escrow Officer in Arizona
- 6 Steps to Become an Escrow Officer in Arizona
- Is there any education requirement to become an escrow officer in Arizona?
- How long does it take to become an escrow officer in Arizona?
- How much does it take to become an escrow officer in Arizona?
- How much do escrow officers make in Arizona?
- Is there a demand for escrow officers in Arizona?
- When to renew the escrow agent license in Arizona?
- Helpful tips for building your escrow officers career in Arizona
- I have more questions about being an escrow officer in Arizona. Where could I obtain more details?
A Table Summary to Become an Escrow Officer in Arizona
|Course||Exam||Surety Bond||Renewal Period||Application Fee|
6 Steps to Become an Escrow Officer in Arizona
Step 1: Complete the Biographical Statement
This document helps the Department to have a thorough understanding of you. Here’s the link to the Biographical Statement.
In there, you will put down where have you lived and worked in the past ten years. Make sure you write them in chronological order.
They also require to disclose whether you had been charged with any felony or had any financial problems (i.e., bankruptcy.). If you answer “Yes” to any of the questions, you must provide an explanation letter and any applicable documents regarding the incident.
Step 2: Conduct a Background Check
It is to ensure you are a trustworthy professional and will serve the public’s best interest. After all, an escrow officer will handle a significant amount of other people’s money on a day-to-day basis.
To do so, you will visit the First Advantage website. This is a leading pre-employment background screening company, and their contact is on the Arizona Department of Financial Institution’s website.
There is a fee of $24.95. You may view a sample of the background check report here.
Step 3: Fulfill the Financial Requirement
The Department requires that your company be solvent. You need to prepare a financial statement that records your company’s asset, liability, income, and expenses.
Here’s the form to prepare it.
Step 4: Provide the Escrow Servicing Rate
You must fill out the Escrow Rate Filing form. In there, you will specify your servicing rate, the total expense, profit, and factors that influence the final rate.
The AZ Department posted a list of AZ escrow companies on their website. If you want to find out their servicing rate, you may click here.
Step 5: Obtain a Surety Bond
The surety bond is to protect your client against your wrongdoing, which results in financial damage. Then they can file a claim against the surety bond.
In Arizona, the required amount of surety bond is $100,000. You may get it from a licensed surety bond company, and here’s the form they need to sign.
The premium depends on numerous factors, such as your credit score. I checked with a surety bond provider, their premium starts at $500.
But keep in mind that the surety bond is to protect the consumer and not you as an escrow officer. If you want coverage for your business, you may look into Error and Omission Insurance. (E&O)
Step 6: Submit the Application
Starting July 1st, 2017, the submission has been transitioned to the Nationwide Multi-State Licensing System (NMLS). In there, you would upload all the required documents.
If you are applying for a company license, there is a fee of $1,000.
|Approval Month||Fee||License Active Through|
|Jan, Feb, Mar||$187.50||9/30 of the Current Calendar Year|
|Apr, May, June||$125.00||9/30 of the Current Calendar Year|
|July, Aug, Sept||$312.50||9/30 of the Next Calendar Year|
|Oct, Nov, Dec||$250.00||9/30 of the Next Calendar Year|
Source: NMLS -AZ Escrow Agent Branch License New Application Checklist (Branch)
On the other hand, I just contacted the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions. They explained that the submission could also be made through their eLicense portal.
They reminded that the NMLS would charge an annual fee, so using the AZDFI system could be a more affordable choice.
Is there any education requirement to become an escrow officer in Arizona?
There is no education or exam required to become an escrow officer in Arizona.
But it is essential to know the rules and regulations. A great way is to study the Arizona Revised Statutes, Chapter 7, Escrow Agents. It consists of four articles which cover Administration, Licensing, Regulations, and Escrow Rates.
I’ll leave the link in the reference section below.
How long does it take to become an escrow officer in Arizona?
Administrative Completeness Review would take up to 60 days and another 60 days for the Substantive Review. Therefore, it will take up to 120 days to become an escrow officer in Arizona.
Once AZDFI has reviewed your application, they will contact you via e-mail.
How much does it take to become an escrow officer in Arizona?
It takes approximately $1500 to become an escrow officer in Arizona. Here’s the breakdown:
- Escrow agent license fee: $1,000
- Surety bond premium: Starts at $500
There could be other expenses involved, such as banking fees, business insurance, E&O coverage, laptop, and other business supplies. Here’s a resource page with a list of incredible business tools that I like.
How much do escrow officers make in Arizona?
Escrow officers in Arizona make $49,057 on average. The income range usually falls between $39,712 and $59,475. (+) The earning would depend on your skill level, location, and years of experience.
Furthermore, the type of property that you specialize in working with may also impact your income.
As I’m reviewing the income figures, Commercial Escrow Officers in Arizona have a higher average annual income of $63,113. The mostly earn between $55,748 to $71,079. (-)
Source: (+) Salary.com – September 25, 2020; (-) ZipRecruiter.com- Oct 25, 2020
Is there a demand for escrow officers in Arizona?
Some states require an attorney to handle the real estate closing and not an escrow office. The good news is, according to the First American Title, Arizona is not an attorney state.
As I’m writing this post now, I see many job listings for escrow officers in Arizona. However, they tend to look for applicants with at least two years of escrow industry experience. You may get a foot in the door by working as an escrow assistant first.
Furthermore, there were 5.34 million existing homes (+) and 682,000 newly constructed homes sold in 2019 across the country(-). As long as people buy and sell properties in the state, there is a demand for escrow officers in Arizona.
Source: (+) National Association of REALTORS ®; (-) U.S. Census Bureau.
When to renew the escrow agent license in Arizona?
You must renew the escrow agent license every year. Keep in mind that the Department need to receive your application before September 30th. Else, there would be $25 penalty for each late day.
Helpful tips for building your escrow officers career in Arizona
Tip#1: Network with other real estate professionals in Arizona
Connecting with other escrow officers in Arizona is a good way to gain a better understanding about the escrow industry. You could do so by joining industry affiliations, online forums or even LinkedIn groups. For instance,
Begin with a friendly conversation. Let them know that you are starting your career as an escrow officer, ask them if they have any tips or advice for newbies to the industry.
In addition, you should network with other professionals in the real estate field. Mortgage agents, lenders, notary loan signing agent and realtors can all provide you with valuable insight, which could be very helpful to your career building in the long haul.
Here’s a list real estate professional groups on our resource page. Hope this will be useful to you.
I have more questions about being an escrow officer in Arizona. Where could I obtain more details?
You may contact the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions:
- (602) 771-2800
- [email protected]
- Arizona State Legislature – Title 6 Chapter 7 (source)
- Arizona Department of Financial Institutions (AZDFI)
- Suretybonds.com – Arizona Escrow Agent Bond (source)
- Salary.com – Escrow Officer Salary in Arizona (source)
- ZipRecruiter.com – Commercial Escrow Officer Salary in Arizona (source)
- US Census Bureau – New Residential Sales (source)
- National Association of REALTORS – Quick Real Estate Statistics (source)
- First American Title- Your Guide to Real Estate Customs by State (source)