The choice of an escrow agent is usually agreed upon by the principals in the real estate purchase contract. While a seller might choose one company and a buyer may select another firm, they must ultimately agree on the specific escrow holder. Many times a broker will recommend an agent, especially if he or she regularly does business with the company.
Do I Have To Use Their Escrow?
It's not uncommon during a real estate transaction to see a buyer or seller request an escrow company. However, in the majority of cases this recommendation is usually inserted by the real estate agent or brokerage company. They typically do so as they know the expertise and work ethic of the escrow company and prefer to keep their deals with a firm that knows will handle unforeseen situations when they arise.
However, it's important to note that you do not have to go with a recommended escrow company, and moreover it's important to do your own due diligence. You can look up escrow reviews on social sites such as yelp, facebook, or google reviews. You can search the web with the escrow agents name and see if any person has posted something in a real estate related forum. Or you can simply call the Department of Real Estate and lookup their company to see if they have received any complaints.
Sources To Lookup The Credibility Of Your Escrow Company
- Department Of Real Estate
- Google Reviews
- Search in Google for forum posts
Different Escrow Processes
In San Diego, you need the legal expertise of a firm, like Equity Legal in as escrows are performed differently in northern and southern California. While most escrow processes are performed by title insurance companies in the north, a separate title company and escrow firm are normally involved in the south.
In southern California, or San Diego, sellers normally pay for the title insurance and the transfer tax, and divide the escrow fee with the buyer. In the north, some counties have sellers and buyer split the escrow charges and title insurance in half. Other counties may have them pay varying percentages of the total expense. Again, given these differences, it is imperative that you work with a law firm, such as Equity Legal, that is well acquainted with real estate law and can assist you should any escrow agent mistakes occur.