There seems to be a common misconception among the real estate buying and selling public that title or escrow agents always look out for the best interests of all parties involved in a transaction. However, the fact of the matter is that title and escrow agents are trained to act in the best interest of their companies and the title insurer. They have no fiduciary obligation to the principal parties involved in any type of real estate transaction. In other words, when you are a principal in a real estate transaction in which a title or escrow agent is acting as the closing agent, there is no one but you looking out for your best interests. The only thing that the title or escrow agent is concerned about is that all the closing documents are signed and that the proceeds from the sale are disbursed. And I can tell you from my own experiences that I have found most title and escrow companies are not exactly what I would call investor-friendly. The reason for the cold-shoulder treatment is probably that most title insurance and escrow companies are generally leery of doing business with anyone they perceive as being unconventional. By the very nature of their business, title and escrow companies are generally suspicious of any type of real estate transaction that involves more than a typical, run-of-the-mill, easy-to-close residential sale with a buyer and seller and two real estate agents. The average title or escrow agent does not understand how real estate option transactions are structured. And like most people, they fear what they fail to understand. This fear factor that most title and escrow companies seem to have about real estate investors fosters an atmosphere of mistrust, which is not conducive to a good working relationship. This is why I highly recommend that you follow the advice I gave you in Chapter 14 and hire an honest, competent, board-certified real estate attorney to act as your legal counsel and closing agent in all real estate transactions. This way, you will have someone working for you who:
1. Has a working knowledge of real property statutory regulations and case law.
2. Is experienced in solving complex legal problems related to real property.
3. Understands the mechanics of a real estate option transaction.
4. Has a fiduciary obligation to act in his or her client's best interest.
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