Is your escrow company the right one for all real estate transactions?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with (831) 626-4000 CA #01772851 HI #RB-21268

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."



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.


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.

Posted by

Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Broker/Owner/REALTOR 


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Hella Mitschke Rothwell (R)

Real Estate Broker/Owner/Realtor®
Licensed in California #01772851 & Hawaii #RB-21268

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Comments (5)

Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Lucky I use two different one all the time but interview a third one every year.  Make it a great day.  Take a walk on the BEACH!


Jan 21, 2017 08:55 AM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell

Will Hamm - So smart! I do business in several areas and the escrow companies are very competitive. They will take anything, but shouldn't.

Jan 21, 2017 09:11 AM
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Broker
Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Fortunately, when you're in escrow with a top producer, her support systems such as escrow, for example, will do whatever it takes to get the transaction closed. That's what I've noticed. Big diffference in attitude for a listing agent doing 10 deals a year vs. 10 deals a month. If the listing agent is a person who carries little clout with the escrow company, it's a whole different story. Probably should not be this way, but it is.

Jan 21, 2017 09:04 AM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell

Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents - You have a great team in place and I would trust you any day of the week with any type of transaction.

Jan 21, 2017 09:13 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


We had a great escrow officer, and she was absolutely superb in handling everything.  Ron worked closely with her.  When she retired, our clients were just as sad as we were, and we did find another one who matched her performance after some trial and error.  A

Jan 21, 2017 11:54 AM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell

Ron and Alexandra Seigel - So glad you found someone. I work out of several areas and can't use one for all of them because of the variety of real estate I handle. In fact, I need at least a couple in each area depending on what it is. Unfortunately, other LA's have been using escrow officers that just can't do just any kind of transaction and those are the ones I am talking about here.

Jan 21, 2017 01:38 PM
John Meussner
Mortgages in AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, MD, MN, MT, NC, NJ, NV, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI - Fair Oaks, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Fair Oaks, CA 484-680-4852

With an escrow officer/title rep/closing attorney depending on state playing such a large role in a transaction, buyers and their agents should really consider putting choice of this service provider into their offer more frequently.

Jan 24, 2017 09:04 AM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell

Probably in the majority of cases it works out if a seller makes the decision as to which escrow company/officer to use, but buyers shouldn't just blindly go along with it.

Jan 24, 2017 09:18 AM
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles real estate concierge services

You make a great point, Hella. If you are choosing an escrow company for a deal that might have some problems, interviewing them about their relevant experience makes a lot of sense. Since I have never encountered problems with an escrow company this certainly will make me think twice before just going with the tried and true.

Jan 25, 2017 04:04 PM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell

Jane Peters - Since it is our clients who are really hiring the escrow company on our advice, we need to make sure it serves THEIR needs and not what WE feel comfortable with. My eyes have certainly been opened this past year. But then, I do a wide variety of real estate.

Jan 26, 2017 05:53 PM