Although traditionally the buyer decides which title company is selected but under most circumstances that does not apply to the market that we are in right now. Hence, don't waste your time worrying about title companies for the following reasons:
1. If it is a bank owned (REO), the seller will decide which title company you get to use. They banks sell in bulk, hence they rightfully get a discount. If you want to purchase the bank owned home (usually at discounted prices, you have to play the cards that are dealt by the bank. The only exception is if you want to select escrow, than you will be required to pay the seller's escrow costs (if they even allow it.)
2. If it is a short sale(SS) that you are purchasing, the listing agent has already HAD to select escrow company in order to get a HUD so that they can submit it to the lien holder and start the negotiations for the short sale. Again, you will have little to no choice at all. Why would the escrow company agree to start helping with paperwork to only get dropped once the buyer enters the game at a later time.
3. Even if the home you wish to purchase is not an REO or SS, many listing agents still start the process with an escrow company in order to get a prelim & HUD done for the seller. This way the listing agent can be better informed of what they have listed and that it is capable of selling-no hidden liens, no additional sellers on the deed that they weren't told about.....
Clearly, the chances of you selecting escrow is slim so....to borrow a phrase from a singer "don't worry about it-be Happy!"
Keep in mind that most escrow companies operate the same way but you are absolutely right to conclude that some are far less efficient than others. There are some that i really have to bite my lip when dealing with them but in the end, if the agent is diligent with their follow up...the job gets done with less of a headache.
Your important decision should be, which agent you will select. Find one that makes you feel comfortable asking LOTS of questions. I would plan on asking every question under the sun to see if the agent answers them in a way YOU understand without making you feel stupid or a nuisance to him/her. Ease in communications (both oral and in writing) will go a long way to make your experience a positive one. If the agent can't communicate to you in a satisfactory manner, what would lead you to believe they can successfully communicate with listing agents, escrow, inspectors, lenders....
Hope this helps. Best of luck and of course it you wish to talk more, you are welcome to email, text, or call anytime.
Valerie Edwards, REALTOR
ABR, RRG, SRS, SFR, SRES, RSPS, GREEN AHTOM
PREMIER Real Estate