Home Selling in Camarillo>Question Details

homebuyer123, Both Buyer and Seller in Simi Valley, CA

Is it common to research cost with different escrow companies?

Asked by homebuyer123, Simi Valley, CA Mon Mar 26, 2012

I sold my home and my buyer is waiting for me to find my home.

Most people talk about negotiating fees with realtors and lenders. But how about escrow companies? My realtor assigned his preferred escrow company to handle the sale/transfer of my home.

Should I contact different escrow companies to see what their fees are? Is it ok to ask my realtor to use a different escrow company if I can get lower fees?

Help the community by answering this question:


Absolutely! I think it's only smart. Agents that have a :preferred" title company pigeon hole their clients and may be roping them into excessive fees! Shop Around!
Lisa Wetzel and Jim Valentine

Certified Distressed Property Expert, CDPE
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates
1320 Hwy 395
Gardnerville, NV 89410
775-781-5472 Lisa
775-781-3704 Jim
775-781-3703 Jessie
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 17, 2014
It is never a bad Idea. Cost is not always best service is more important. This is a major financial transaction and most Realtors have escrow companies they are familiar with that give good service.

Matt Polaski
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 17, 2014
Yes it does help, but most of the time costs are around the same unless you are getting investor rates from that title company. When you get investor rates it helps significantly but it's not too common for people to get them considering they don't buy/sell homes on a regular basis. Investor rates really don't do anything for title companies either, but keep their "regulars" coming back...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 5, 2014
You can definitely compare escrow companies and work to negotiate the best price you can find. Often Escrow companies will work with you on some fees especially if you are selling and buying a replacement home and that are handling both transactions for you. If you are selling and buying as you say I would use the same Escrow company if possible. I do agree that your agent may have a great experience with this escrow company and likely chose them for that reason. I highly encourage you to discuss this with your agent. The only bit of advice I share with my clients in this arena is that as mentioned escrow is supposed to be a disinterested third party to ensure all aspects of the agreement are upheld. In my opinion in house escrow, title, and lender, services do not always yield those results. When an issue arises it's hard to know if decisions are being made because that is the right decision or because the companies have the same owner and they are circling the wagons.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 5, 2014
All Valley does a solid job. They are associated with Troop Real Estate. If you are working with Troop it was probably disclosed to you that they have an ownership interest in their third party preferred vendors, like All Valley and their Title company, Consumers Title.
Title Costs are regulated since they are an insurance so you will not find a lot of difference in the costs. However, escrow companies can charge whatever they like. Most decent ones are going to cost you a flat fee of around 250-$350 base PLUS $2-3 per Thousand. If you are purchasing a home for 800,000 you will probably see how it is nice to be on the lower side of that. It is somewhat "customary" to our area that the sellers select the escrow company but if you are purchasing a home without a lot of competition, you will be in a better position to negotiate this selection. REO's typically provide an "incentive" for you to use their escrow.
Locally, I like Kim Keith at Chicago Escrow and Title in Westlake.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 27, 2012
Is All Valley Escrow in Simi Valley a good option? Could you guys recommend a couple of other reliable companies so I can compare?

Thank you all for your answers. Very helpful.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 27, 2012
Escrow pricing is pretty close between most companies, but price should not be the determining factor. Especially with the distressed market, not all Escrows have equal skill sets. For example Short Sales are more complex and some Escrow officers are not up to the task with the demand a Short Sale Escrow creates. Even if your sale is not a distressed sale the work load at the company you are going to use is going to have at least 30% distressed properties taking up their time while trying to process your file. This should not be a problem for a seasoned Escrow company.

You will encounter a Broker run escrow, but the broker run escrows can only handle transactions that the broker is either representing the buyer or seller. Nothing wrong with this, we have many very good broker owned escrows in Ventura County. There are independents, like escrows at a Title company. These Title Company Escrows are typically running the escrows on Bank Foreclosure properties as big banks negotiate volume discounting on services. They can run other escrows, I am not seeing many agents recommend those escrow outfits as much these days and I doubt it has anything to do with service or skill set, probably more relationship driven. I am using Title run escrow on commercial purchases I represent and that is a decision on skill set.

You can ask to see an estimate of the costs of the escrow the listing agent is requesting to use and compare that to an escrow the buyer is proposing to use. Or you can ask if you can use a Title Company Escrow or another independent. You can negotiate on some of those fees. Some fees such as title are set, you would have to get the rate sheets from several Title companies to compare rates.

Ask questions, ask for written estimates and be reasonable; this way the process will be less stressful.

I see the hours of work an escrow officer puts into these files and the mound of paperwork and a $1200 avg escrow fee on a $500k purchase is not unreasonable. One thing the public does not see is how poorly the escrow officers are treated. Escrow has big liability and big responsibility. California is a State that allows Escrow to handle the Settlement without an attorney. There is no way I can see an attorney taking on that job at those prices.

If your agent has experience with concurrent closings and same with the escrow company they recommend, look at the estimates and see if you can get a break on anything, if not, feel good that you did the investigations and understand the costs.

Ted Mackel
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 27, 2012
There is a lot more to choosing an escrow company than price. Your Realtor chose this company because he/she has had good experience with this escrow officer's ability to perform. Not all escrow officers are equal.....if you trusted your Realtor with the sale and purchase of your property, does it make sense that he/she has been on different sides of the equation with many escrow companies and knows what's in your best interest? Of course you have the right to shop for a good rate, but please ask others who have recent experience which specific escrow officer they used and if they felt they were well served.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 26, 2012
Everything in real estate is negotiable. However, more often than not 'you get what you pay for' as far as services rendered. An escrow company is an independent trusted third party. Make sure they are licensed and bonded, and preferably local. Ask for references.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 26, 2012
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