By Lydia Blair
Title companies in Texas all offer the same basic services. And since title policy premiums are regulated by the state, there isn’t much difference in cost from one to the next. What makes one title company better than another? What keeps agents going back to their favorite escrow officers time after time?
I thought I’d survey a few Realtors. After all, they are the ones who usually choose which title company to send their real estate contracts.
After surveying dozens of agents and lenders, the No. 1 answer was great communication. To win their business, the title agency and closer must communicate quickly and frequently. This was at the top of the criteria for agents like Robin McCoy (Keller Williams), Chris Suwannetr (JP & Associates), Sheri Stout (Ebby Halliday), Erik Hargrave (PrimeLending), Kerry Slaughter (Keller Williams), Mary Anne Collins (eXp Realty), Vanessa Bamback (Haute City), Nichole Vilchis (Keller Williams), Kay Wood (Briggs Freeman Sothebys) and Phillip Walker (Keller Williams).
“They’re communicative with all parties and always one step ahead,” says Amy Timmerman (Local Resident Realty) about her favorite title company. “Updates, reminders, clear and prompt responses,” are what Lori Hudson (Ebby Halliday) appreciates about her preferred title agency.
Customer Service was the second most frequent response. Along with communication, it was an essential requirement for earning agent loyalty. Beth Douglas (Ebby Halliday), Kurt Cisco (The Michael Group), Cathy Browne (Ebby Halliday), Suzanne Lunar (Ultima Real Estate), Bonnie Monroe (Keller Williams) and Lori Hudson (Ebby Halliday) all felt that great customer service was paramount.
Several agents noted that responsiveness and quickly addressing questions and issues was most important. Lisa Besserer (Briggs Freeman Sothebys) likes that her favorite title agent “always gets right back to me.”
This need for speedy responses includes availability outside of the normal business hours. Deborah Whitington (broker) likes that her title agent works “the same hours we do.” Shelle Carrig (Briggs Freeman Sothebys) and Ginger Gill (Ebby Halliday) agree that availability on nights and weekends is important.
Seasoned real estate professional Gene Taylor (Dave Perry-Miller) appreciates that his title agent “stays calm under pressure.” While Shirley Mangrum (Ebby Halliday) likes that hers is also fun while professional. Courier services for earnest money were mentioned by some agents and others like Robin Massey (eXp Realty) value the people that work there the most.
Attributes like knowledge, work ethic, and flexibility are appreciated by agents like Evan Stewart (Compass), Ashley Key (Berkshire Hathaway) and Terri Gum (Ebby Halliday). Both efficiency and anticipating potential roadblocks in a transaction are qualities that Keith Newman (Compass) looks for in his chosen title agencies.
It seems that many of the demands placed on Realtors by their clients are also what these agents expect from their title companies. Frequent communication, outstanding customer service, and rapid responses are all crucial to earning agent allegiance.
Leah Goldstein (Ebby Halliday) adds an extra appreciation for “a great team that makes closings fun celebrations.” That’s always something to cheer about.
Lydia Blair (formerly Lydia Player) was a successful Realtor for 10 years before jumping to the title side of the business in 2015. Prior to selling real estate, she bought, remodeled and sold homes (before house flipping was an expression). She’s been through the real estate closing process countless times as either a buyer, a seller, a Realtor, and an Escrow Officer. As an Escrow Officer for Carlisle Title, she likes solving problems and cutting through red tape. The most fun part of her job is handing people keys or a check.