Are escrow/title fees negotiable? I was told they cannot be negotiated. Please clarify.

Asked by Elaine, Sacramento, CA Wed Feb 18, 2009

These fees pertain to Sacramento, CA. What is the most reasonable method to calculate entire closing costs and escrow fee itself?

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Blake Holding, , Fair Oaks, CA
Fri Mar 6, 2009
Don't be afraid to ask--Everthing is Negotiable!
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Erin Newingt…, Agent, Elk Grove, CA
Thu Feb 19, 2009
Even though it is not fair or legal... If you are buying a Bank Owned Home you are going to be forced into using their title company.

I have had little to no luck trying to get a bank owned escrow/title company to not only reduce their fees but they actually refuse to explain them to me! I put a link below to a Blog post I wrote on this subject if you are interested!

I think there is more room to negotiate on a refinance because you can control which title company is selected.

Don't be afraid to ask what the fees are and why are they needed!

Good Luck!

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Sue Archer R…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Thu Feb 19, 2009
You can ask your realtor for the title/escrow fees from different title companies and be able to see what is charged. They are normally pretty close. Sometimes there a little 'junk fees' that can be eliminated but there is not a major difference when you consider the total costs inolved in buying a house. However, every little bit helps. Your contract will reflect which fees you are responsible for vs. the other party.

The other factor which is more a consideration in this current market is the factor of who gets to pick the title company in the first place. If you choose to buy a bank owned property, they often insist that you use their title company. They may not accept your offer if you insist on a different company.

While who is selected to do the title and escrow, is always an item for negotiation in a real estate transaction, more often than not, the party paying the fees in the purchase transaction want to select the title company. But again, it's always negotiable in who gets to select the title company, and you can always ask for any adjustment in fees that you are responsible for paying.
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Erin, , South Lake Tahoe, CA
Thu Feb 19, 2009
Dear Blaine: In general, I would say that escrow and title fees are set and that you can ask your favorite title company for a list of their fees so that you can use those for figuring your costs of purchase. Your agent can get the costs and additional information from the title/escrow company of your choice and prepare a Buyer's Closing Estimate for you based on those costs and any other costs of your transaction.

With that being said, I have seen a title company recently lower their fees to facilitate a transaction. Title and escrow provide a valuable service to real estate transactions and a service I think the parties should pay for as agreed. For the most part, their fees are very reasonable. My advice to you is find a reputable title/escrow company and pay their fees. How do you feel when someone asks you to take a pay cut or reduce your fees for the valuable work you do?

I hope this helps.
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