In almost all residential real estate transaction both the buyer and seller will use the services of an escrow company to facilitate the transaction. Simply defined, an escrow is a deposit of funds, a deed or other instrument by one party for the delivery to another party upon completion of a particular condition or event. Escrow companies assure that no funds or property will change hands until all of the instructions in the transaction have been followed. In California the Residential Purchase Agreement also serves as the escrow instructions. The escrow holder has the obligation to safeguard the funds and documents while they are in the possession of the escrow holder, and to disburse funds or convey title only when all provisions of the escrow have been complied with. The selection of the escrow holder is normally done by agreement between the buyer and seller. If a real estate broker is involved in the transaction, the broker may recommend an escrow holder. However, it is the right of the buyers and sellers to use an escrow holder who is competent and experienced. The duties of an escrow company include; following the instructions given by the contract in a timely manner; handling the funds and documents in accordance with the instruction; paying all bills as authorized; responding to authorized requests from the buyers and sellers; closing the escrow only when all terms have been met and funds in accordance with instructions and provide an accounting of the transaction also known as the Closing or Settlement Statement.