When you make an offer to purchase a home in California, not only do you stipulate the price you are offering to pay, you start the ball rolling for a number of other players who will have a roll in your purchase.
Here’s a breakdown of the typical people and types of services that will be involved in a residential purchase, and how they are selected.
The escrow company: There’s a section in the purchase contract where you, as the buyer, stipulate who pays for the escrow fees and who the escrow company will be.
Usually, the buyer and the seller each pay their own escrow fees. And usually, the seller’s agent is the one who picks the escrow company. This is designated by the buyers’ agent, who is filling out the purchase agreement on behalf of her buyers, and who defers to the listing agent to select the escrow company by writing in “the company chosen by the seller” or some similar verbiage.
Sometimes, the buyer’s agent contacts the listing agent to get the name of his preferred escrow company and fills in the blank with that specific company name. Other times, the listing agent puts their preferred escrow company information in the private agent remarks in the multiple listing service to make it extra easy for the buyer’s agent to know how to fill in that blank.
The title insurance company: The title company is usually chosen by the listing agent as well, and most buyers’ agents also fill this blank with “the company chosen by the seller.”
Sometimes, the buyer’s agent will write in the name of her preferred title company, just to advocate for her preferred title representative. This usually is countered our by the listing agent.
Other times, the buyers’ agent checks the private remarks in the listing details to see if the listing agent specified a preferred title company.
The termite company: There are several places in the contract where the buyer can ask the seller to pay for a termite inspection and to ask the seller to pay for any and all treatment required for a clear termite report before the close of escrow.
Once again, the buyers’ agent writes that the company shall be “chosen by the seller,” as long as it is a licensed structural pest inspector.
The home warranty company: Most offers include the request for a one-year home warranty policy paid by the seller.
The buyer’s agent usually designates the provider of the policy and the level of coverage, often including an upgraded policy that provides more comprehensive coverage, and additional coverage for the pool, spa, and roof.
The home inspector: Most buyers’ agents will recommend the buyers pay for an inspection of the property and deliver a written report with photos. The buyers choose their inspector, typically based on recommendations provided by their agent.
The lender: All offers these days are submitted with a pre-approval from a direct lender or a mortgage broker. Some buyers select their lender before they even begin working with an agent, while others go with one of the lenders recommended by their agent.
Leslie Sargent Eskildsen is an Orange County real estate agent. She can be reached at 949-678-3373 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Her website is leslieeskildsen.com.
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