So, When Do We Get The Keys?


It’s the most asked question after the buyers sign their loan package.

So, when do we get the keys?

They may be buying their retirement home or it could be a first time home buyer. It doesn’t matter. They all want to know the answer to that question.

The official answer is “In Arizona, the property transfers or conveys upon recordation of the deed with the County Recorder.” This official answer doesn’t really help the buyer. They want to know how long it will take to complete the transaction so they can get the keys.

With so many people relocating to the area from other states, we get lots of questions about the transfer of ownership. In some states, everyone attends the closing. Buyer, Seller, Agents, Lender, Attorneys, and Escrow are all at the same table. In these states, the buyer leaves the closing with keys in hand. That is never the case in Arizona. We schedule the buyer and seller for separate appointments. As mentioned in a previous post, sometimes the agent and/or lender attend, but most of the time, they don’t. And nearly every time, the buyer asks the question: When do we get the keys?

So what happens after the documents have been signed? I’ve personally signed thousands of buyers in my career, and after they finish and leave the office (hopefully with their agent and/or lender) the same scene usually occurs outside my office window. Handshakes, hugs, high fives or fist bumps are exchanged between the buyers and the agent and/or lender. I never get tired of watching this celebration, especially when it’s a first time buyer.  OK, enough with the warm and fuzzies, it’s time for us to get this thing funded and recorded…

Here’s what happens from the escrow point of view after the signing:

The loan documents are packaged per the lenders instructions. Copies of recordable documents are made and certain items are included in the funding package to the lender.

Roughly ½ the lenders require the loan documents be returned for review prior to funding. If this is the case, the loan docs are either couriered or over-nighted to the lender.

If the documents are not required for funding, the lender usually needs a few key documents faxed in order to fund.

The recording package, consisting of at least the deed, Affidavit of Property Value, and the deed of trust is prepared and couriered to the recording desk.

The Escrow Officer now waits for contact from the lender for any final conditions or documents the lender may need to fund the loan.

When all conditions are met, the lender and Escrow Officer compare figures and agree to the amount of the loan funding.

Escrow waits for the receipt of the funds, usually via wire transfer.

Upon receipt of the wire, the Escrow Office releases the file for recording.

The Title Officer in charge of the file does one final review of the file for any liens or issues that may have occurred since the issuance of the Preliminary Title Report.

Upon the Title Officers’ approval, the recording desk scans the documents into the county system, and receives confirmation of recordation. This is immediately forwarded via e-mail to escrow.

The normal timeline from signing of the loan package to recordation is generally 24 hours or so. If the lender funds by fax, same day recordation is possible, as long as the wire can be sent to escrow. Escrow is now free to call both agents and let them know the file has recorded.

Now, they get the keys!

It’s a long answer to a simple question.  Hopefully this glimpse behind the scenes makes sense…  If it doesn’t, leave a comment below.

Bill-RisserAbout the Author: Bill Risser is an Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager of the Chicago Title – Gilbert office.   You can find him at and on Twitter at @billrisser, that is, when he’s not on a local golf course with his son, at the movies with his wife,  or tending to one of his four fantasy leagues (NFL, MLB, PGA, and NASCAR).



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About the Author
Bill Risser

Bill Risser is Vice President, New Media and Education of Chicago Title Agency in Maricopa County. You can find him at and on Twitter at @billrisser, that is, when he’s not on a local golf course with his son, at the movies with his wife, or tending to one of his four fantasy leagues (NFL, MLB, PGA, and NASCAR).

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