An escrow company is designed to prevent fraud when buying or selling a house, but how do you pick a company? You need to receive emails and documents required for closing in a timely fashion and be able to communicate with the sellers. A bad escrow company can push back your closing for weeks. Here’s how you can pick a great company and avoid issues down the road.
One thing many people disregard is the location of the escrow company. You’ll have to visit the office at least once to sign legal documents, but you may have to drive to meet with your escrow agent on a regular basis. Choosing a local escrow company with an office that is convenient may be more comfortable. It isn’t uncommon for someone to have to make several trips to the office before closing.
Never put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. Call around and talk to several different businesses. You don’t need to set appointments up with each escrow company. Just speak with the receptionist and see if they’re right for you. This gives you a good indication if they’re a busy company and if they have time to handle your escrow account with the utmost care. When you’ve found one you like, make an appointment. You’re allowed to make multiple appointments with various companies if you are unsure which would be best for your situation.
Always arrive early to your appointment. This gives you the chance to talk to the receptionist and get a feel for the escrow company culture and quality of service. A receptionist that is too busy or stressed to have limited conversation could be behind on assignments or busy helping the escrow officers get caught up. A rude receptionist may be a singular event, but it could also mean that the company isn’t efficient. The duty of the receptionist is to receive new/existing clients to the company, and a wrong impression means the company may not care about its customers.
When you meet with your escrow officer or agent, you should ask plenty of questions to get a feel for their customer service. The questions should also help you understand how receptive the officer will be. A list of questions you should ask include:
- What are your office hours?
- Can you meet with a client for a signing away from your office?
- Do you have an assistant?
- What is the method and turnaround time for property profiles?
- What recording times are scheduled for your company?
- What other services do you have that I may not be aware of?
- What are your escrow fees, including wire transfers, recording charges, and delivery?
It may feel obsessive asking these questions, but this will show that you’re prepared. Their level of preparation should match or exceed yours. The answers also outline what you can expect from your escrow agent to avoid issues later.
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