I just read a great post by S-Crow at Seattle Bubble about his frustrations over the rates he sees when he’s signing clients at his escrow company. I relate since before April Fools 2000, I was in the title and escrow industry for 14 years and often times, at signing, borrowers ask something along the lines of “How is my rate?”
Escrow is a neutral third party. They cannot tell you that your rate looks atrocious, they’ve never seen one that high. They can’t wink once if your rate is fine and twice if you should bolt. As much they might want to beg you not to sign…they are restricted by law and cannot. You must do your home work with selecting a Mortgage Professional well before your signing appointment.
I’d like to say that you could ask an Escrow Officer for their recommendation for a Mortgage Professional before you are entered into a transaction with the escrow company…that’s no guarantee either. Escrow companies rely on loan originators to direct business to them (especially refinances where the LO has control of where the title and escrow will be). Plus, some are not truly independent if a mortgage company, builder or real estate company has an ownership interest.
Some Escrow Officers will gladly recommend Mortgage Professionals who provide loan documents in a timely manner, seems to offer competitive rates with closing costs that represent what was originally quoted and, most importantly, has clients who are still happy with their LO at the closing table. However keep in mind, an Escrow Officer sees a lot of information, but they don’t have the entire loan file so they really don’t know why a rate is what it is.
Of course, I don’t believe that the interest rate should be how you select your Mortgage Professional. Do ask three people whom you respect…if you really trust an Escrow Officer, ask them who they recommend and why. Just don’t ask your Escrow Officer while you’re in a transaction with them…they can’t answer.