Don't feel too comfortable about using the same escrow company because they have always done well by you. Because, unless you do the same type of real estate transaction over and over, it can come back and bite you.
As you know, different regions have different views on who hires the escrow company, buyer or seller. In some areas, listing agents will actually open escrow at the time the listing is acquired. Which means that unless the buyer opposes this in his offer, he will meekly use that escrow company.
And wherever that is standard procedure, I want to warn buyers agents to make sure this escrow company is not out of its depth.
Or, for that matter, that the listing agent is up to the task and has done this type of transaction before.
I just closed one where we ended up closing with a THIRD escrow officer and TWO different companies. Happily everything ended up well and we are only a week past the intended closing date. But it was a nail biter and it could have dragged out for weeks.
This is not the first time that I've seen an escrow company drag their feet when a problem came up such as getting out from under a tax lien. I actually had two closings with the same problem, and one escrow officer had the tax people on speed dial whereas the other one didn't do anything. "We don't do that, you solve it with the tax people and we can proceed."
INTERVIEW THE ESCROW COMPANY
Have they done this type of escrow before? Lay out the problems and ask how it was handled in the past. And what they expect YOU to do. Or someone else to do, "a lawyer needs to unravel this." Once a lawyer is involved, in my experience, you don't get anywhere fast. So find that escrow officer who has done these types of transactions in the past.
INTERVIEW THE LISTING AGENT
This might be trickier, but once you are in escrow, find out if this agent has done this type of transaction before. And if they DIDN'T, be prepared to do the bulk of the work or keep a very close eye on the paperwork. Don't be afraid to step up and prepare the paperwork yourself. Certainly ask the questions, you might be surprised what that agent does NOT KNOW about their own listing!
Don't accept the status quo - always question.