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Home Buyer, Home Buyer in Mountain View, CA

How do you pick a title company?

Asked by Home Buyer, Mountain View, CA Wed Aug 1, 2012

What do you look out for when picking a title company? Is it a rate comparison activity, credibility check or other factors?

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Locally, title companies act as escrow agents. Many real estate agents develop preferences and avoidances for particular title companies because of the effort the title officers and representatives have shown they are willing to make. Having an escrow fail to close on a Friday because someone at the title company didn't make a phone call will probably put that title company at the bottom of the list.

There are few problems with titles and when there are problems the title companies normally quickly solve them. Realistically locally title companies are probably seldom chosen because of their title duties. Their escrow duties are much more visible.

Real estate agents quickly identify individuals at title companies who put extra effort into making sure the escrow moves ahead smoothly and closes when planned. If the key title people move to a different company, the real estate agent will also probably try the new company to keep the same title person(s) working on her escrows.

Ask several agents which title company (and representative) they like to work with. As long as the company is one of the major companies, you will probably get a good title insurance policy and diligent escrow work.

The most visible action done by a title company for a buyer or seller is the estimated closing cost statement and final closing cost statement. A real estate agent can give a buyer or seller an estimate but the title company has more precise specific information. I have a web page which presents estimated closing costs which in turn shines light on some of the things that happen during escrow.
http://www.julianalee.com/reinfo/closing-costs.htm

Juliana Lee
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 1, 2012
The title company is to be selected by the buyer, unless the seller is paying for both the Owner's Title Policy and Mortgage Title Policy. This is a RESPA law, which I've pasted directly from the HUD.gov website. This is a law nationwide, not state specific. Please read below.

Section 9: Seller required title insurance
Section 9 of RESPA prohibits a seller from requiring the home buyer to use a particular title insurance company, either directly or indirectly, as a condition of sale. Buyers may sue a seller who violates this provision for an amount equal to three times all charges made for the title insurance.
Flag Mon Dec 22, 2014
First understand who chooses the Title and Escrow Companies. This varies from County to County and is normally determined by who pays. For example; in Santa Clara County the Seller pays and therefore chooses. In Alameda County the Buyer pays and chooses.
If it turns out you will be paying then the best advice I can give you is to use the company your Agent suggests. We all have long standing relationships with specific escrow officers and work as a team to deal with issues which may arise.
You have no reason to fear about kickbacks for such situations. The RESPA act is very effective in dealing with any illegal activities and guilty parties are severly punished even to the point of loosing their licence in addition to substantial fines.
Good Luck
Bill
p.s. Your crash course would be greatly facilitated by chosing a competent Realtor to guide you through the process. The reality of life is that when you set out you have no way of knowing what questions to ask.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 1, 2012
For me it's the reputation, and not just the title company but the particular officer I am working with. Saying that, I had good experience with First American, Chicago Title and Cornerstone.
Web Reference: http://talisrealestate.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 1, 2012
Consult your Agent, they know the local title companies and which agents get the job done!
GOOD LUCK.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 28, 2012
Well, it is said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Here's hoping you've picked up enough information to buy safely.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 2, 2012
Thanks all for sharing your insights and experience. In this virtual age online research is supplementary to having an agent. I find that knowing what questions to ask in order to go through the cycles of the decision process helps tremendously.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 1, 2012
How do you pick a title company?
eeny meenie miney moe?
strips of paper in a hat pick one?
dart board?
Pick a number between 1 and 10

Picking a title company is much like picking any other company.
Do your research.
Check testimonials and complaints from others.
Usually the title companies do it right.
Ask your agent and their broker for their opinion.

Harold Sharpe - Broker
So Cal Homes
(951) 821-8211
harold@socalhomes.biz
http://www.socalhomes.biz
California Department of Real Estate Broker License # 01312992
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 1, 2012
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