Who chooses the title and escrow company?

Title Insurance with AmeriTitle

We frequently get the question, "who chooses the title and escrow company?"  The answer below is from the Oregon Association of Realtors e-news letter 10.6.2010. 

In our experience we have definitely seen the title and escrow company as a negotiated item in the contract.  The listing agent will note their title company of choice on the MLS listing because they have already worked with said company to provide information on the property, and their favorite escrow officer is there.  Then the buyer's agent writes up the offer and writes in their favorite title and escrow company which may be different. 

It used to be pretty common for an agent to write a counter offer just to change the title company.  This practice has tapered off in today's climate.  No "rocking the boat" on transactions as getting it to close is the most important issue. 

What seems to be the most rare occurrence is when the buyer or seller request to work with a specific company.  This does happen but generally, they trust the real estate agent and their expertise in this matter. 

Legal Hotline

 Q.  Our agent is both the seller's and the buyer's agent and is saying the buyer gets to choose the escrow/title company. Is there a rule about this and, if so, where can I find it?  Does the type of loan matter, like FHA or VA?

 A.  There is no "rule," though a lot of people think there is one.  RESPA says a seller cannot make the buyer purchase title insurance from a particular company as a term or condition of sale.  That is really a narrow prohibition because in most sales the buyer doesn't purchase any title insurance, the seller does.  The RESPA title insurance rule is often misunderstood because the title companies are the escrow companies in Oregon.  There is, however, no rule, RESPA or otherwise, about choosing escrow.  It is just a term of the sale contract like any other term of the sale contract.  That being the case, asking who chooses escrow is like asking who chooses the purchase price.  It's a negotiated term. If FHA or VA weighs in on escrow, it is as a condition of qualifying for the loan, not a law.

We hope that you will choose AmeriTitle on your listing, write us in on the offer, and extend us the great honor of serving you and your clients. When you experience our level of professionalism and fast and friendly service you'll be glad you made the AmeriTitle choice. 



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Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

Maybe there, but not in Texas.

Oct 06, 2010 01:28 PM #1
Rosi Green
AmeriTitle - Silverton, OR

Hi Greg!  Things do vary from state to state.  Many agents here will ask the client if they have a preference.  Sometimes this will jog their memory of their last transaction and help them make a choice.  What is it like in Texas? 

Oct 06, 2010 02:05 PM #2
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Greg: Yes, it does vary a lot from state to state... Washington is a lot like Oregon. In Washington it is often the case that the listing agent has opened up preliminary title (before a purchaser enters the transaction). I favor this because it serves (all parties) and especially the buyer. Conditions of title are all brought up to date so 1.) the sellers and the listing agent are aware of any flaws, liens, or concerns of title, and 2.) there's time for remedy if something needs to be done. Now days (in this recession) many of the city, county, state offices have furlow days off and their staff's have been reduced. If you wait to order title until a buyer comes on board you could be pressed because a time line to closing has usually been declared and now you're at the mercy of that agencies ability to fulfill the request.

Good post Rosi and a timely point to bring up...



Oct 06, 2010 02:26 PM #3
Jim Allhiser
Perfection Inspection, Inc. - Salem, OR
Salem, Oregon Home Inspector

Huh,  I have heard that if a question comes up over and over it is a blog post!  Thanks Rosi

Oct 06, 2010 03:10 PM #4
Margaret Oscilia
Creative Concepts-Home Staging and Contracting, Salem Oregon - Salem, OR
Home Stager, Salem Oregon

We had sold several homes before I knew I had a choice on my title company.  Since then we've been requesting one that we know does the best work on our behalf, but it isn't something any agent has ever mentioned to us.  Good news to share!

Oct 22, 2010 02:20 AM #5
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