The person who enacts and completes the terms of the contract. The closing agent works in the escrow office and provides escrow services (i.e., acts as a neutral third party). A title company usually also provides escrow, but not always.
Insider’s Tip: Using the same title company for both title and escrow usually gets you a small discount.
The closing (or escrow) agent receives the buyer’s funds, satisfies all liens and ensures their release, records the deed (transferring legal ownership to the buyer), makes sure a title insurance policy is issued, and pays all associated costs and taxes due. Then, and only then, will the agent release the remaining sale proceeds to the seller. Needless to say, this person is a real VIP!!
Here in WA, this person is a Limited Practice Officer (or LPO). They have a license to engage in the limited practice of law, specifically to draft the documents necessary to close a real estate transaction.