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Use an “Escrow,” Not an “Escroc”

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 “escroc.” Escrow, it turns out, and “escroc” are pronounced the same; both words are “faux amis” (false friends), meaning they look alike but have different meanings.

The American dictionary defines Escrow as “the 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 “escroc,” 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 working 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.

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Jana Kaholoa'a

August 27, 2010

I will definitely have you as my partner for these kinds of clients because you are great!

Jana Kaholoa'a

August 27, 2010

I will definitely have you as my partner for these kinds of clients because you are great!

Laurie Edmondson

August 27, 2010

Great Blog Catherine. It is amazing the various meanings of words in the different cultures. I am sure your clients were very grateful to have someone such as yourself by their sides!!

Laurie Edmondson

August 27, 2010

Great Blog Catherine. It is amazing the various meanings of words in the different cultures. I am sure your clients were very grateful to have someone such as yourself by their sides!!

Xavier Daval

August 29, 2010

Très amusante cette histoire d’Escrow. J’ai eu la même réaction quand j’ai rencontré le mot pour la première fois.
Super Blog, bravo.

Xavier Daval

August 29, 2010

Très amusante cette histoire d’Escrow. J’ai eu la même réaction quand j’ai rencontré le mot pour la première fois.
Super Blog, bravo.

Gary Bland R S

April 8, 2011

Aloha Catherine- Good to know should this ever come up. I will know how to respond.

Gary Bland R S

April 8, 2011

Aloha Catherine- Good to know should this ever come up. I will know how to respond.

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