Escrow

​​​​An escrow agent is a neutral third party who holds money, instructions, and documents until a specified event, most commonly a real estate transaction. When all terms and conditions of the agreement have been met, the escrow agent will then deliver the money and documents as directed in the escrow instructions.

Some escrow agents also choose to offer title insurance. Title insurance companies are licensed and regulated by the​ Division of Financial Regulation​​.

Oregon escrow agent licensing

Before applying for an escrow agent license:

  • Review the laws and rules that apply to engaging in the business of an escrow agent, ORS 696.505-696.590 and OAR 863 Division 49 and Division 50.
  • If you have not done so, register your business and get a Business Registry number from the Oregon Secretary of State Corporation Division.
  • Sign and date a document that contains:
    • ​A general plan of the escrow business.
    • Description of the character of the escrow business.
    • A history of the formation of the escrow business, including when it was established.
    • Documentation of employees' experience and training showing at least 3 years of collective experience in administering escrows in Oregon or another state with compatible escrow laws.
  • Prepare bonding or a deposit in lieu of bonding. See Bond of Escrow Agent form. The minimum bonding level is $50,000. Refer to ORS 696.525 & 696.527.​
  • Have a certified public accountant prepare a balance sheet and income statement per generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
  • Gather the resume(s) of the applicant or applicant's personnel detailing a minimum of 3 years total ​experience in the administration of escrows in Oregon or another state with compatible escrow laws. Include the names of former employees, dates employed, and duties. Refer to ORS 696.511(3) & (4) and OAR 863-049-0015(b)(C) & 863-049-0020(b)(C).
  • Obtain a completed Escrow Criminal Records Check Application for each:
    • Person with 5% ownership interest in the business.
    • Corporate officer in direct control of escrow operations.
    • Individual in direct control of escrow operations.
    • ​If you are out-of-state, complete an Irrevocable Consent to Service Affidavit.​

    ​To apply for an escrow agent license:

    1. Register for an account in eLicense as an individual.
    2. Use your eLicense account to access the Escrow Agent License Application.
    3. Complete the online Escrow Agent License Application for the business name, including:
      • ​Uploading the required documents (see above).
      • Paying the $450 license application fee.
    4. ​When the application is received, you will receive instructions on submitting the required fingerprints for each person required to complete a criminal record check, including payment of the $47 criminal records check fee for each set of fingerprints.​
    ​​​​