“We’re Just Instruction Takers”

Why does it matter what escrow company you use for your purchase or sale?

3f. Release of Earnest Money: In the event of a dispute between Buyer and Seller regarding any Earnest Money deposited with Escrow Company, Buyer and Seller authorize Escrow Company to release Earnest Money pursuant to the terms and conditions of this Contract in its sole and absolute discretion.

That’s what the contract says. Unfortunately, the past couple of days have been spent in discussions with an escrow company that does not believe that paragraph applies to them. As I was told this morning “we’re just instruction takers,” except as instructions go it seems those that come from the lender who contracts with the escrow company to handle its files are more important than those that come from the buyer, even when the contract supports the buyer’s position.

More unfortunately, when purchasing a bank owned home or a short sale, the buyer often has not choice in who handles the escrow as these things are determined by existing large-scale contracts. Buyers can choose their own title insurance company, but not the escrow company.

In theory, the escrow company is supposed to be a neutral third-party. Those that I have used most often, Lawyers Title and First American Title, understand their responsibility. Others, such as the one from this morning that propriety prevents me from mentioning by name, apparently are too concerned with their corporate contract to handle their very important roles as delineated by both the contract and practice.

It’s a sad, sad time reflection on the escrow business to see the contract ignored in the interest of a company’s bottom line, don’t you think?

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.