This week on our Team Member Highlight is Carolyn Laethem from our La Mesa Team.

  Contact Carolyn at


  🌳 Do you have any kids or grandchildren? 2 kids, 19 and 20, one of each, no grandkids yet!
  🌳 What’s your favorite thing about escrow? Closing escrows for clients, especially first-time buyers.
  🌳 Favorite thing about working for Oakwood? My team is amazing, blessed! For Oakwood, the entire family is awesome! We are definitely a family here.
  🌳 What’s your favorite Hobby? Hiking with my husband and/or friends.
  🌳 Do you have any pets? I have one dog now, Sierra.





What’s the difference between those that stick to their goals and live out their New Year’s Resolution for the entire year?

According to business and life coach, Tony Robbins, “Clarity of Purpose. And a plan.”


  • What are your plans for the new year?


  • How are you aiming to live our your goals for the entire year?


  • What changes are you wanting to make in your life and business?


Click Here to read the full article and live out your best 2018!

All real estate transactions are unique and closing costs can vary dramatically based upon what the parties have agreed to. The following is an outline of a typical sales transaction and what closing costs you might expect to see. This is not a guarantee of what closing costs you may be charged at close of escrow and is to be used as a guide only:

The BUYER can generally be expected to pay for:

  • Title Insurance premiums(ALTA Loan Policy)
  • Escrow Fee(50%)
  • Document Preparation(if applicable)
  • Notary Fees
  • Messenger/overnight/courier fees(if used)
  • Tax proration on (for date of acquisition)
  • Homeowner Association Fees (according to contract)
  • All new loan Charges (except those required by Lender for Seller to pay)
  • Assumption/ Change of Record Fees for takeover of existing loan (according to contract)
  • Inspection Fees (roofing, property inspection, geological, etc.)
  • Fire insurance premium
  • Buyer’s portion of Sub-Escrow Fee
  • Escrow Loan Tie-in Fee

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The Susan G. Komen 3 Day walk is an inspirational 60 mile walk that makes a HUGE difference in the fight against breast Cancer, and we were able to see that difference in their brief jaunt through Del Mar. Oakwood Escrow was beyond excited to be there cheering them on and to cover the walk with OTV!

All the men and women that walked past us were there to make a difference and you could tell how much this walk meant to each one of them! Each walker raises $2,300 in donations; 75% of the proceeds go towards research programs, Community health and advocacy, and global Partnerships, and 25% goes towards screening, diagnosis and treatment assistance programs, patient navigation services and education. It’s a big commitment to raise that much but they do it for those they love and for themselves!

Last year, Susan made a bold goal, to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths by 50% in the United States by 2026! They want to make a bigger, bolder impact and BE MORE THAN PINK!

Oakwood Escrow went out early in the morning and cheered on the survivors and supporters. We got some great coverage of the walk and we were able to interview a few people! The interviews include; Yvonne Walton with Oakwood Escrow, Marcia Campagna with Carrington Real Estate, Michael McCaffery with Carrington Real Estate, Courtney Newland with Oakwood Escrow, and a few Amazing walkers!

We can’t wait to support the men and women next year!

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Congratulations! You have just signed your contract on the purchase of your new home, here are some answers to questions that you may have: 

  • What is Escrow, and what do they do?

    Escrow is the neutral third party of the real estate transaction which enables buyer and seller to conduct business with each other as well as the fiduciary agent for the transaction.

  • When is close of escrow?

    Close of escrow occurs when the Grant Deed is recorded vesting title into the new buyer(s) name with the County Recorder, together with other applicable documents

  • When Do I receive the keys to my new home?

    Keys can be delivered to buyer upon recordation of the Grant Deed with the County Recorder, and upon the terms as stated in your real estate purchase agreement. Contact your real estate agent to confirm the possession date and to make arrangements for the delivery of keys at the time of closing so that you can schedule your move in date.

  • How much will it cost?

    Your escrow officer will give you a final estimate of the funds required to close once they receive the loan documents from the lender. At this time they will contact you to schedule an appointment for signing which can be done at the escrow office or at your home, depending on your schedule. Final funds to close MUST be deposited no later than one business day prior to the close of escrow. To insure a successful close of escrow please be sure to complete and fully sign all your escrow documents and return then to your escrow officer/lender in a timely manner, as many things can cause a delay in the closing of your transaction. Some items that can cause delays are; information or conditions not being provided to your lender or escrow officer in a timely manner, liens, judgments, payment of debts have not been cleared or ordered, repair work not being completed on time. Please be sure to always complete/sign and return all items as quickly as you can, and if you have any questions, always call your escrow officer as he or she is there to assist YOU!


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What are my closing costs?

Answer: An Estimated closing statement will be provided to you prior to the close of Escrow. Several Estimated closing statements might be generated through the course of your Escrow for the purpose of getting the loan approved and finalized. Escrow will advise the borrower(s) of the final amount of funds to wire, if applicable, to escrow.

How will I receive my proceeds from my refinance?

Answer: If you are receiving cash out from your finance you have a couple ways to receive your money. You can request that a wire be sent to your bank account, this will require instructions to be signed with a notary public, or you can receive a check at the close of escrow.

When is my first payment?

Answer: You can find the date of your first payment by looking on your note, first payment letter, found in your final loan documents or you can contact your lender.

My lender asked me to sign a Borrower’s Authorization. Why do I have to sign Escrow’s Authorization?

Answer: Banks and lien holders require that the authorization come from the actual party who is ordering the payoff demand.

What are impounds?

Answer: Impounds are money held aside from each mortgage payment by your lender to pay for property taxes or homeowners insurance when they become due.

Why do I have to pay interest on my existing loan and my new loan at closing?

Answer: Interest is paid in arrears, therefore interest is always behind a month on your mortgage payment. We pay off your current loan and all of the interest through the day your old lender receives funds. For the prepaid interest on your new loan we have to bridge the gap between the date we fund your new loan and your first months payment.

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Most real estate transactions in the State of California utilize the services of an escrow company. Ironically, escrow remains one of the least understood elements of the real estate process.

Because of this, buyers and sellers often place their faith in the real estate broker or lender to recommend an escrow company. What most consumers don’t realize, however, is that they are entrusting this escrow company to safeguard their funds being held in trust. In addition, it is the primary responsibility of the escrow holder to ensure that all of the necessary instructions in the real estate agreement are executed.

The responsibility to protect the consumers’ interests should not be taken lightly. The escrow holder must remain impartial during the escrow period to ensure fair representation of all parties. It is crucial, then, that the broker, lender or the consumer makes a knowledgeable and informed decision in choosing an escrow company.

“Licensed” VS. “Controlled”

All escrow companies in California can be classified into two basic categories: Licensed or Controlled. Moreover “Licensed” escrow companies are independent businesses licensed by the California Department of Business Oversight(DBO). However this license regulates the procedures and practices of the companies and subjects them to stringent requirements designed to protect consumers. “Controlled” escrow companies are non-licensed businesses that can be owned by a variety of the entities, including real estate brokers, mortgage brokers, banks, savings and loans, and title insurance companies. Such companies fall under the jurisdiction of a variety of supervising agencies, with regulations and requirements that vary widely. One fact remains constant however; none of the agencies have regulations as strict as those imposed on the escrow companies licensed by the Department of Business Oversight.

Neutral Third Party

The bottom line is that a licensed escrow company is the best possible neutral third party to complete your real estate transaction. Whether searching for an escrow holder yourself, or if you are looking to recommend one to a client; a licensed escrow company gives you peace of mind.

Regulatory Agency

Escrow companies are governed by the “Escrow Law”, contained in Division 6 of the California Financial Code, and regulated under Title 10 of the California Code of Regulations. Inquiries regarding escrow licensees may be directed to the Department of Business Oversight, 320 Fourth Street, Suite 750, Los Angeles, California 90013(213-576-7500)


Escrow Agents’ License Bond and license mandated membership in Escrow Agents’ Fidelity Corporation, a California non-profit mutual benefit corporation, is found in Section 17312 of the California Financial Code. Requirements for Maintenance of tangible net worth and excess of liquid assets are set forth in Section 17210 of the California Financial Code.

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Here are 8 Sellers Tips for a successful Escrow closing:

  • When you  receive your escrow opening document package, promptly sign and return the forms. If you prefer to meet with your Escrow Officer to go over the package, please let them know right away so you can schedule an appointment.
  • Tell your Escrow Officer if you plan to be out of town during the escrow period or if one party will be signing documents using Power of Attorney.
  • Let your Escrow Officer know if the escrow is part of a 1031 tax-deferred exchange and provide the name of the Qualified Intermediary.
  • Be responsive to the requests of your agent and escrow officer. Remember, they are working together to close your escrow smoothly and on time.
  • Talk to your Escrow Officer if there has been a change in the title of your property such as divorce, deceased owner, or a trust transfer. This may affect the instructions covering the disbursement of your proceeds at the close of escrow.
  • Remember to keep the payments of your existing loans current during escrow. Regarding property taxes. talk to your escrow officer if a payment becomes due during your escrow period. He or she can give you advice about ways to avoid double payments or “holds” on your funds at closing.
  • Tell your escrow officer if you are involved in negotiations with your existing lenders(for example, delinquency issues) or legal or estate proceedings which might affect the property, such as a probate sale.
  • Be sure inspections or repairs are ordered quickly. Coordinate this process with your agent and plan to make your property readily available for inspectors or appraisers which may be requested by the buyer or his agent.

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  • When you receive your escrow opening document package, promptly sign and return the forms.
  • Tell your escrow officer if you plan to be out of town during the escrow period or if one party will sign documents using a Power of Attorney.
  • Let your escrow officer know if the escrow is part of a 1031 tax-deferred exchange and provide the name of the Qualified Intermediary, if any.
  • Be responsive to the requests of your agent, lender, and escrow officer. Remember, they are working together to close your escrow smoothly and on time.
  • Escrow will advise the Buyer(s) of the final amount of funds to wire to escrow. This amount will include a balance of down payment and total closing costs.
  • Please insure your money is deposited in an account where the bank can wire your funds to escrow within 48 hours prior to the close of escrow. Having closing funds readily accessible can avoid delays. If you are using funds from your 401K, or investments accounts please be sure that the company can send funds to escrow in the form of a bank wire and ACH transfers.
  • Good Communication is important! We welcome an opportunity to assist you, and are happy to direct you to the appropriate party to help you get the information you need.
  • Be sure inspections or repairs are ordered quickly. Coordinate this process with your agent and plan to make your property readily available for inspectors and appraisers that may be requested by the buyer or his agent.
  • Oakwood Escrow will NEVER email wire instructions for the file. If you receive wire instructions via email purporting to be from Oakwood Escrow, they are not Valid! Please contact your escrow officer immediately.

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