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What Is The Standard Escrow Time Period And Is That Even Important?

Comments & Replies: 3     Views: 2589     Posted By: Broker/Consultant  

Escrow periods vary depending on type of business, licenses involved, and a host of other business for sale factors. Joel Miller (Southern California Elderly Care Home Specialist) initiates this discussion on how long escrow should last and if it's even important on how long it may last.

Topics: Escrow Closing Issues     Tags: buying a business, escrow bulk sales, selling a business


Contributor: Broker/Consultant: Elderly Care Services

The Buyers are excited! An offer has been accepted. Sellers are making plans. Due diligence has been started, checklists are being created and... wait a minute, escrow has just started and everything is put on hold until escrow has given us the "green light".

In the world of Elderly Care/Assisted Living home sales, a 60 day escrow/closing period is almost a minimum time period for us. Escrow needs plenty of time to cover all of the bulk sales requirements, they need to collect and disseminate pertinent information. Funds are delivered, accounted for and distributed as instructed. State licensing agencies, family members of Residents, Employees and of course Residents need to be notified of a sale taking place. Agreements need to be created, licensing applications need to be submitted and so forth.

Yes, your escrow time period is very important and please do not rush through the process with out taking a considerable amount of care and due diligence with one of the greatest investments you will make. Unless you have a "hole burning in your pocket" to spend that money, take your time.


Typically 45-60 days, depending on the size or type of landlord, and if there is any licenses, such as ABC, to be transferred. The longer the escrow period, the higher the probability of a deal blowing up and going sideways, so it helps to have an escrow officer that is on top of things and keeps the escrow moving.


As with many aspects of business sales "typical" and "standard" are difficult terms.

Consider the time from executing the contract until the cash is in the seller's account.

Once a contract is signed, the deposit needs to be placed with the escrow agent, and "due diligence" begins. Due diligence can take 5 hours, 5 days, 5 weeks, or even (God forbid) 5 months -- it all depends on the business, the availability of books and records, the cooperation of the parties, the schedules of the CPAs and attorneys, etc.. Then, once due diligence is complete, there are other factors: (1) loan applications and financing approval, (2) agreement with the landlord for transfer of tenancy through one means or another, (3) and the escrow agent getting sales tax and employment clearances, getting the bulk sale transfer notice recorded and published, and the UCC-1 searches on chattel liens being completed. In a perfect world, the escrow agent can have this done in three weeks, but at least four weeks is more likely and reasonable.

So, there is no "standard" escrow time. But, all parties should remember "Time kills deals." It is in everyone's best interest to act expeditiously and cooperatively once the contract has been signed.


  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
Helen Yoo, New Century Escrow - Escrow Services In Southern California

New Century Escrow, Inc. is a fully licensed & bonded independent escrow company. Over 20 years combined experience in handling bulk escrow transactions. Multi-lingual staff that speaks your language, including Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese. Call Helen Yoo direct at 626-890-1151.

Willard Michlin, CPA, Certified Fraud Examiner, Due Diligence

Willard Michlin, CPA #106752, offers buyers step by step training & assistance in doing Due Diligence Services when they are thinking of making an offer, or are in process of investigating a business purchase. He helps to determine the actual net profit even when there is cash. Call 805-428-2063.

Shalonda Chappel-Pilgram: Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - Southern California

Escrow services to brokers/agents, sellers, & buyers. Established 43 years. Extraordinary service. Experienced with handling difficult transactions. One stop for all your escrow needs: Bulk sales, lien searches, UCC searches, liquor license transfers, publishing & recording services. 951-808-3972.

Diane Boudreau-Tschetter: Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - CA

California Business Escrow, Inc. is a full service independent escrow company serving all of California and has expertise in a wide range of escrows. Our team prides itself on providing an exceptional escrow experience. For more info phone Diane Boudreau-Tschetter at 888-383-3331 or 209-838-1100.

Rick Carlson, Business Broker - Southern California

You Will Never Feel Lost In The Shuffle. Many Brokers Simply Send Out An NDA And That's The End Of Communication. All Buyers Receive A Personal Meeting With An Ace Acquisition Specialist So They Can Recommend The Perfect Business For You. Phone Rick direct at 800-985-4939.

Chris Seaman, Business Broker: Southern California

Founded in 1994, First Choice Business Brokers has accelerated to become one of the most successful Business Sales Organizations in the world. Our team of agents have gone through extensive training to become experts in the field of business brokerage. Call Chris at 858-578-4111 for more info.

Steve Zimmerman: Restaurant Broker Specialist, California

Steve founded Restaurant Realty in 1996. He has personally sold/leased over 900 restaurants, bars & clubs, & completed over 3000 valuations. The author of "Restaurant Dealmaker - An Insider's Trade Secrets For Buying a Restaurant, Bar or Club" available on Amazon. Reach Steve direct at 415-945-9701.

Lee Petsas, Business Broker - Southern California Area

Lee Petsas has been selling businesses with UBI Business Brokers in Southern CA since 1981. In 1999 he became the Owner and Broker for UBI. He has been approved multiple times by Courts as an Expert Witness in the area of Business Valuations.


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