Getting things in writing will depend on the listing agent and the whoever holds the mortgages - and it will vary greatly. I have seen instances where banks respond in less than an hour and others have gone 3-4 months with no response.
I am not surprised that they are asking for you to pay the $200. The seller (current owner) could care less since the house is being taken from them by force and the bank isn't going to pay it. If you want the house you will have to put up with quite a few of these oddities.
If you don't have a good agent with a lot of experience working with banks, I would recommend that you get one to work on your behalf.