The sign off is an appointment in which home buyers and sellers sign the final papers which will lead to closing a few days later. (In some states, the closing happens when all parties sign, and both sellers and buyers meet at the same time for the official paperwork. Not so here in Silicon Valley, though.) Usually the appointment takes place at the title company which is also handling the escrow – that is the norm in northern California. Sometimes either buyers or sellers cannot be available during regular business hours. In that case, they have an option of paying for a mobile notary to do the signing at their home or some other convenient location.
The closing, or close of escrow, takes place when the deed is recorded with the county at the County Recorder’s Office. Usually each title company will send one person to record all of the deeds scheduled to close that day for that firm. Once a particular property has been recorded, we say “it is on record”. Someone from the title company will call or email the clients or the real estate agents (or both) to confirm that it’s on record. For short, they often say “we have confirmation” – meaning that they’ve been told that the deed was recorded. The property transfer happens when the deed is recorded – not when the papers are signed.