If I were king for a day what changes would I make to the escrow industry to better protect the public or remove stress from the process of buying and selling real estate?
First, I know several were waiting for me to pick of real estate agents. That one is coming. Secondly the reason I chose to write about escrow officers is that they are an extremely important part of this process and probably the most forgotten among industry experts and the news media.
A few years back my wife and I bought the home we are living in. I apologize of the story gets long winded. At the time I was not licensed to sell real estate in Hawaii, but was many years before and disclosed that on our Purchase Contract (known at that time in Hawaii as the DROA).
The entire escrow process was a mess. I have written about it before in other blog posts. It was the reason I got back in the industry.
So let's focus on the escrow side of it. First of all almost every document I received from escrow was riddled with errors. The escrow officer blamed everyone else for the mistakes.
Here is a list of some of the errors:
- My name spelled wrong.
- The wrong address for the property.
- The wrong sale price.
- Missing credit from the seller to the buyer.
- Had me listed as the buyer instead of the seller.
- Wrong tax map code.
- The HUD statement was a mess. It took 3 days and several revisions to get it right.
- Wrong closing date.
How hard is it to pull this information from the Purchase Contract? It was correct on the contract.
To complicate things even worse, my wife and I were at the closing table with no loan officer and no real estate agent. I forgot to mention my red pen and an escrow officer that did not want to be there. After three attempts and a forced extension on our closing we finally got in the home.
The escrow officer never answered her own phone and we got a different assistant every time we called. None of them seemed to have any knowledge about our transaction.
I am sure we can all tell several other stories about transactions that have taken strange turns due to things happening at the escrow company.
If I were King Here Are a Few Things I Would Change:
- Not allow real estate companies to own escrow companies or visa versa.
- Require escrow officers to return phone calls.
Ok I know many were disappointed. This list was short and I took it easy on escrow officers. I think the escrow companies are already heavily regulated so I am not sure of any further needed regulation is needed, at least here in Hawaii. I can also say that most of the escrow officers and escrow companies I have worked with are really good at what they do and are extremely professional. I rarely have a complaint. Any problems at all are immediately addressed in most cases.
There are however a few, very few escrow officers and companies that I find absolutely scary.
Other King For a Day Posts: