Thursday, October 1, 2009

A lazy Escrow Officer makes for a frustrating transaction...

ARRGGHH! If you follow me on Facebook, you will know that I have been experiencing great frustration this week surrounding delays to the close of escrow. What was the problem, you ask? A completely incompetent (or lazy, apathetic...all of the above) Escrow Officer.

This Escrow Officer, who shall remain nameless along with her company, caused major frustration and unnecessary delays to the closing of the transaction. Just for the record, the escrow holder is a neutral 3rd party that handles the money in the transaction.

Loan documents were delivered by the buyer's lender the afternoon of Thursday, September 17th. The loan officer excitedly called me to tell me they had been sent to escrow. Great! I called and left a voicemail for the escrow officer that call back. I emailed her Friday morning...nothing. I called again on Friday afternoon and waited on hold 10 or so minutes for her. When she answered, she said she would prepare the documents and get the buyers in to sign their loan documents immediately. She also said she would send me the FHA Amendatory Clause document, which required my signature as the buyer's agent.

Immediately turned out to be Tuesday, the 22nd and Wednesday, the 23rd. My buyer clients were an engaged couple - one is here in Sacramento, and the other is relocating here from Daly City. They were in two different places, but no effort was made to get their signings accommodated...out-of-town document signings are common, and a mobile notary or another office of the same escrow company is used.

The loan documents were not couriered back to the lender until Thursday, the 24th, and not received by the lender until late on Friday, the 25th. By this point, the escrow officer still had not sent over the FHA document requiring my signature as the buyer's agent.

On Tuesday morning, the 29th, the lender issued its funding conditions. Among the funding conditions was a signed copy of the FHA Amendatory Clause. Tuesday morning I was at the Regional MLS meeting when I got a frantic email from the buyer's loan officer around 9:30am. She emailed me the Amendatory Clause because it was required to fund the loan. I raced back to my office, signed it, and emailed to back. Around 11am, I received an email from the escrow officer with a copy of the Amendatory Clause document...kinda late, doncha think?

The lender was able to fund the loan, and the funds were received by escrow at 2:25pm that afternoon. Great! The last time to be able to record the buyer's Deed of Trust with Sacramento County is 3pm! At 4pm, I received a call from this escrow officer stating they missed the recording deadline. No recording Tuesday, and I could not give my anxious buyer clients their keys to their new Natomas home. UGH.

I was promised that the recording would happen first thing on Wednesday morning. I should have received a call from the escrow officer around 9:30am to give me confirmation that the transaction was on record. Nada...finally around 11am I emailed her. I got an out-of-office auto-reply email that she was on vacation for the next week!! WHAT!? I called the office and spoke to her assistant. ARE WE ON RECORD???

Nope! This escrow officer had "forgotten" to request a payoff demand for the HOA transfer fees. They could not record without it. ARRGGHH!!! The escrow officer should have done this weeks prior! Several angry phone calls between myself, the buyer's loan officer, and the listing agent finally resolved this issue.

We finally recorded on Wednesday the 30th...about a week after we should have. WHAT A JOKE! Good thing my clients interest rate lock did not expire! Good thing this transaction madness was not happening at the end of November, when the first time buyer credit deadline could have lapsed! Good thing this was not a short sale close to expiration! Good thing my clients did not have to be out of their apartment!

I have a great relationship with my go-to escrow officer. I know this madness NEVER would happen with her.

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