I recently sold a Waikoloa Village house to some French compatriots. After living a few years on the rainy side of Waimea, they were ready for some warmth and sunshine. We eventually found the right place and price, and sat down to write the offer and review the escrow procedure.
When I said the word “Escrow,” their jaws dropped and they expressed concerns about dealing with a third party â€œescroc.” Escrow, it turns out, and â€œescrocâ€ are pronounced the same; both words are â€œfaux amisâ€ (false friends), meaning they look alike but have different meanings.
The American dictionary defines Escrow as â€œthe deposit of deed, bond, monies, contract or other written agreements with a third person to be delivered or used only upon performance or fulfillment of set conditions.” In practice, Escrow provides one central place where all funds and documents may be deposited. Here, they can be collected and disbursed only when all conditions of the contract are met by Seller and Buyer.
The French word â€œescroc,â€ on the other hand, means crook, or con man. My French clients thus had little trust in this supposedly independent third party’s willingness to protect their deposit funds until the transfer of the property.
As a French realtor workingÂ on the Big Island of Hawaii, I am aware of growing European and Canadian communities. Please do not hesitate to contact me for representation, as I can help you understand the key differences between buying in your country and buying in Hawaii.