Let's suppose that you've taken a lot of time and gone to a lot of trouble to find exactly the pro- perty you want to buy, a property which suits your various and complex needs. You've spent many hours talking price and terms with the seller; you've finally agreed upon a purchase price; and you've agreed to put up a deposit to confirm the contract.

What happens next? How does this property, this real estate, actually change hands? And what do you need to do now to insure that the transaction will occur precisely according to the terms you have negotiated?

Well, the very next thing you need to do is " open escrow," a procedure known variously in some parts of the country as "title closing" or "settlement." To do that, you simply give your entire deposit and all your instructions regarding the transaction to an impartial third party, most likely an escrow company, but it may be a title company, an abstract company, an abstract attorney, or a real estate attorney. This third party then has the responsibility of handling all the details necessary for the property to change hands. You are relieved of the details from then on.

When you do go ahead and open escrow, you are most likely told that everything is in good hands and will be taken care of for you. Don't worry, people say. Everything will be okay. But wait a minute! Don't you have any questions about this mysterious escrow procedure? After all, you are entrusting some very important papers and some very large sums of money to perfect strangers, not to mention the responsibility you're giving them. Are you doing it all blindly? Wouldn't you feel better if you knew what in the world was about to happen in escrow? Sure you would. Most anybody would.

CHARTER FINANCIAL WILL BE HAPPY TO EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENS IN A ESCROW. CALL OR  mail to:www.charterfinancial.net