HELP - Who decides on the closing agent? - Posted by Scott (WA)

Posted by Scott (WA) on February 09, 2001 at 08:59:50:

Thanks for the backup! This situation is so unbelievable, a realtor willing to trash a commission and possibly their reputation over an escrow kickback? I generally find my deals before they’re listed and use Bronchicks forms to get them under contract, with great results! Realtors seem to over complicate such a simple process. Anyway, thanks for your comments and encouragement!


HELP - Who decides on the closing agent? - Posted by Scott (WA)

Posted by Scott (WA) on February 09, 2001 at 07:23:27:

I found a property that I would like to purchase as a buy and hold - “rental”. The property is listed with Realtor #1, so I call the realtor that I use from time to time (Realtor #2) to get me the specifics and make my offer. I made a strong offer that I have every reason to believe will be quickly accepted. In my offer I specified the escrow company that handles ALL of my closings as the closing agent. The offer was sent to Realtor #1 late in the evening and the next day Realtor #2 calls me to say that Realtor #1 has crossed out my designated escrow company and inserted the escrow company that is used by Realtor #1’s office. I explain that I designated my escrow company for a reason and this is non negotiable. I have never met a buyer or seller that has had a strong opinion one way or the other about who does the closing. The Realtor’s are telling me that if I won’t use Realtor #1’s escrow that the seller will scrap the deal. Yet, they haven’t even told me that my offer was accepted? I DO NOT BELIEVE FOR A MINUTE THAT THE SELLER CARES ONE BIT WHO DOES THIS CLOSING AND IT IS ALL REALTOR #1 TRYING TO STRONG ARM ME! I have told my realtor that I will call the seller directly if they accept my offer but refuse to use my escrow, I want to confirm that they realize what their realtor is doing and why they lost their sale!

My question is who has the right to designate the closing agent? The MLS forms have a line right on them for the buyer to fill in who will be handling the closing? Has anyone dealt with realtors that act this way? Would a realtor really kill a deal over this? I am not having much problem finding properties that meet my criteria for “cashflow properties”, so I am willing to walk if I don’t get my way because I feel that the realtors are out of line! It is now a matter of principle more than anything else but I would like confirmation from all of you fellow investors if I’m right or wrong about this! For some reason this has gotten under my skin and is really eating at me!

Re: HELP - Who decides on the closing agent? - Posted by Scott(WA)

Posted by Scott(WA) on February 12, 2001 at 04:29:52:

Thanks to all of you that responded! I thought you might want to know how it came out. I WON! Friday afternoon my realtor called and left me a message acting like everything was fine, the other realtor was sending over all of the documents with THEIR escrow listed - I guess I was to assume that my offer had been accepted even though she never had told me this - After hearing the message I decided to call the seller directly, I called and got him first try. Guess what, he knew nothing about my desire to use a specific closing agent and it made ABSOLUTELY no diffence to him he just wanted the sale, as I had suspected!! I explained why I wanted to use my closer and he said no problem and HE called his realtor and told her that we WILL BE USING my company. Shortly there after my agent calls to let me know that the paperwork came thru with my company still listed as the closer. She explained that she didn’t realize that I would ACTUALLY go to the seller myself and that I had really “TORQUED OFF” the other agent. I explained that in the future I expect to be taken seriously and that hacking off the other agent was a bonus and was making my day!

I encourage anyone that is treated with anything less than complete respect from a realtor, or anyone else for that matter, to hold your ground! It is your money and you have every right to control the deal, if that is necessary or important to you. I would have scrapped the deal out of principle but I know my market and I wouldn’t have to wait long for another identical deal.

Thanks again,

Re: HELP - Who decides on the closing agent? - Posted by dewCO

Posted by dewCO on February 09, 2001 at 10:26:10:

Usual here in CO is that the listing agent picks. The theory is that since the seller pays for the title policy “they” which is usually their agent gets to pick. Everyone has their “favorite” closer and title company. I don’t think it should be a deal breaker as a long as the seller doesn’t have to pay any more for the title policy (if they are paying for it), so you/your agent should try to negotiate it for you. But hope if you have a good deal it won’t be a deal breaker issue.

Re: HELP - Who decides on the closing agent? - Posted by JPiper

Posted by JPiper on February 09, 2001 at 09:13:04:

I would say that it’s typically a matter of “convention” in most areas. In all probability if the seller pays for title insurance then the seller would typically elect the title company. BUT, as with ALL things it is negotiable.

IF you have identified a particular escrow company or title company in your offer, then that is no problem at all with that other than it may defy convention in your area. Nevertheless, it is a part of your offer and should be presented to the seller in that manner. IT’S NOT LEGAL FOR A REALTOR TO SIMPLY STRIKE OUT A CLAUSE IN A CONTRACT UNLESS THE REALTOR IS THE SELLER OR HAS THE SELLER’S POWER OF ATTORNEY. What the Realtor should do is to present the offer to the seller, and if the SELLER does not like the escrow company/title company then the SELLER would make a counteroffer. It would then be up to you to accept, reject, or counter.

If it turns out that the Realtor has not presented the offer to the seller, or has altered the offer in any way, I would make a formal written complaint with the State Real Estate Commission, not the Board of Realtors.


it depends on the local custom… - Posted by eric-fl

Posted by eric-fl on February 09, 2001 at 09:08:22:

…in your market. In mine, title companies typically handle closings (as opposed to attorney’s), and it is traditionally “seller’s choice”. I usually specify my own company anyway, and then use it as a concession point in negotiations later on. Sort of a way to “give up” something, without really giving anything up.

It probably is the seller’s realtor who cares more about this than the seller, and yes, they probably get some kind of a kickback, or may just want to maintain control.

Once, when I was representing a buyer as an agent in a traditional transaction, the seller’s agent was a GRI, (Graduate Realtor Institute) and thought the world of herself. I still remember her patronizing tone when she would explain things to me I already da** well knew. I kept my mouth shut through most of the deal, and tried to keep emotions out of it.

Towards the end of proceedings, she faxed me a closing sheet from “her” title co. she had insisted on, late on a Friday afternoon, for a Monday morning closing. She had made an error of a few hundred dollars against my client’s favor.

I did everything I had to do, and went as far as tracking down the closing agent at home on Saturday, and spent the better part of my day getting it straightened out.

So come Monday morning, we all show up the title office, this lady walks in and does everything she can to mark her territory, short of peeing on the desk. Pretentiously saying hi to everyone by first name, whether they were involved or not, and she was all like “can I get anyone coffee” with the slant like “I KNOW where the coffee is”, real obnoxious in her tone.

So about halfway through the closing, the error shows up. The seller had, of course, gone and gotten cashier’s checks for their part of the expenses, and now were going to have to cut another check out of their personal account. So the seller gets all miffed, and actually started crying right there at the closing table. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. The seller’s agent had to take her out of the room to calm her down, etc. In the end, they cut the check, the deal happened, and we all parted “friends”. I doubt she picked up any referral business from that deal.

My point to all this is, if it’s really that big of a deal, let them have their silly title company. Don’t let emotions get involved, and don’t throw away a profitable deal for principle. Some principles are worth sacrificing for; this isn’t one of them. It’s just business. You just keep your mouth shut, do your due diligence, and laugh all the way to the bank.

Re: HELP - Who decides on the closing agent? - Posted by CurtNY

Posted by CurtNY on February 09, 2001 at 08:38:17:

You are 100% correct, you can choose who you want to handle the closing. This Realtor (1) probably gets a kick back from his title company or likes to use a certain firm because he’s done business with them and feels confortable there won’t be any problems. I agree with you, don’t let them strong arm you, use your company, I doubt for one minute the seller has a problem with using your closing company, they just want their money. I would definately call the seller directly if your offer is denied, and verify it was his decision, if it wasn’t I would contact the local board of realtors and send in a formal complaint. Best of Luck to you!


Thanks JPiper! - Posted by CurtNY

Posted by CurtNY on February 09, 2001 at 11:47:13:

You’re right the Commission not the board, thanks for clearing it up!


Re: HELP - Who decides on the closing agent? - Posted by Scott(WA)

Posted by Scott(WA) on February 09, 2001 at 09:21:11:

Thanks for your input and insight! I will see how this all plays out before I decide about the formal complaint. When I’m the seller, if I have a qualified buyer I would certainly defer to their wishes for the sake of getting my money! Although I have yet to meet a buyer that cared. Thanks again…


Good story!! [nt] - Posted by SusanL.–FL

Posted by SusanL.–FL on February 09, 2001 at 11:43:31: