What advice would you give to a Buyer in escrow?
Buying a house can be a very stressful experience. There are a lot of details to attend to, and a lot of decisions to make. You will receive TONS of advice from friends, neighbors, relatives, the guy at the dry cleaner, your mechanic… you get the picture.
My best advice to a Buyer is to utilize the experience and wisdom of your Realtor, over the advice of “would be” experts. A licensed, experienced agent may be involved in dozens of escrow transactions per year, where the average person you run into may do 4 or 5 real estate transactions in their entire lifetime.
Nowhere would I say this is more important than in the selection of the Lender who will be providing financing for your purchase of real estate. We are bombarded on the internet, television, radio, etc. by companies who make promises with regard to interest rates and fees. What I cannot stress enough, is that while interest rates, fees and terms are important parts of the decision process, they are not the only things to consider. The ability to close on time, and avoid surprises at the end, is a huge thing to factor in as well.
In my many years of escrow experience, I can recall more examples of “loans gone bad”, than I can count. So often, it is the result of a well-meaning buyer, following the advice of someone other than their Realtor, and using a lender that does not have a proven track record of closing deals.
What is an example of “loans gone bad”? I have seen: delays of weeks or more to closing, false promises, inaccurate estimates and having to switch loan programs in the middle of a transaction. I have seen fees increased, interest rates increased, Buyers failing to qualify (after having been assured that they did). I have seen Buyers chase a low interest rate, and end up with an out of state lender who has no knowledge of how California real estate closings are done, which in itself can cause a lot of difficulties.
It is very likely that your Realtor will be able to refer you to more than one lender with whom they have had good experiences, and satisfied clients of CLOSED escrows. This will give you the opportunity to compare rates and fees, with someone who has the ability to get the job done.
Realtors are a good source of referral to other services that you might need, such as home inspectors, insurance agents, a great escrow officer, title company, etc. While you as a consumer are free to choose your own provider (subject to the terms of your contract with the seller), using an unknown and out of area source, can be a disaster!
I hope that this information will be helpful, to make what is a complicated process, a little less stressful.