I am going to be very interested in seeing the comments from agents in San Diego County. Interestingly, except in the case of an refinance (where price almost always trumps service) the cost of escrow services almost never comes into question. Of course, in California the purchase contract always directs escrow so all I can do it collect the escrow/title fees and provide disclosure to the borrower.
Though I am, at times, baffled on how (or why) agents choose to direct escrow to a given escrow company. When the escrow office and officer are on top of the transaction, I get it. However, that is probably only the case is 50 -60 per cent of the time. Recently, I had a transaction that took multiple calls\ and involvement from the agents to get a return call. I have had escrow stand on their head to accommodate a signing...I have also had a escrow in the San Diego area that required docs 48 hours in advance to schedule a signing.
When I was a novice wholesale account executive in the Bellevue, WA market I learned a very important lesson about escrow. One of my brokers had a transaction that absolutely needed to come together....of course, I am standing in front of my funder begging for the favor for one of my best mortgage brokers. But there were several PTF (prior to funding conditions) that escrow did not have and it would be over the weekend before the docs could be forwarded. I figured there was no chance....but, my funder looked at the file and said, "Angie at Meridian has the file. If she tells me I will have the docs on Monday I will fund the deal. No questions asked. If Angie tells me I will have it, I will have it".
At that moment, I learned the true value of a good escrow company...and officer. When a funder will put their job on the line over the reputation of the escrow officer...you know you have a good partnership. BTW, when I went back into retail...Angie closed every escrow I could direct her way.
Sorry for the meandering comment...I am really hoping to see many comments from agents on your query.