Investorwords.com defines escrow as, “documents, real estate, money, or securities deposited with a neutral third party (the escrow agent) to be delivered upon fulfillment of certain conditions, as established in a written agreement.” Most people encounter the escrow process when they are buying or selling a house. The escrow assistant works for an escrow agent handling details and supporting the escrow process.
An escrow assistant spends the majority of her day handling clerical duties, such as maintaining files, creating correspondence and organizing paperwork that has to do with the opening, maintaining and closing of escrow accounts. Though the job is predominantly administrative, she might additionally interact directly with customers so she can offer advice on the escrow process itself.
As with most administrative positions, an escrow assistant needs to possess a strong team orientation, a keen task focus, a flexible work pace and a strong eye for detail. She should additionally be respectful of processes, rules and procedures, since escrow work is complex and regulated. Errors can be costly, so she should work through tasks in an orderly, concentrated manner, and she needs to double-check her work. Additionally, an escrow assistant must possess a service orientation, because she is often the person providing guidance to customers. She needs to listen attentively and think critically as she answers questions and solves problems. Confidentiality is also important in an escrow assistant, since the individual will maintain files that have private, sensitive information.
An escrow assistant works in a business office environment. Depending on the escrow agent, the surroundings might be casual or formal. The assistant works at length on the computer and spends a good deal of time on tedious, repetitive clerical tasks. This work can usually be completed in a 40-hour workweek; however, overtime might be required to meet approaching deadlines.
Employers favor escrow assistants who have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in areas such as business or legal assisting; however, applicants possessing only a high school diploma can usually find work in this field. Experience in real estate, law or banking makes applicants more attractive to hiring managers.
According to Indeed.com, $36,000 was the average salary of an escrow assistant as of April 2010. Depending on the employer, this job might pay hourly or via salary. Bonus pay opportunities, based on the overall success of the escrow agency, are usually available in this industry.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects average job growth in the administrative/secretarial sector between 2008 and 2018. Growth within the escrow industry, however, may be limited, since the field relies on a vibrant real estate market. When there is a downturn in real estate, fewer escrow agents and escrow assistants are needed.
2016 Salary Information for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
Secretaries and administrative assistants earned a median annual salary of $38,730 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, secretaries and administrative assistants earned a 25th percentile salary of $30,500, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $48,680, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 3,990,400 people were employed in the U.S. as secretaries and administrative assistants.