To most people who've never bought a house before, escrow is a sort of confusing term. Some don't know what it means, and others hear it and just think of a fee to be paid. When those people begin the process of buying their first home, however, a little enlightenment can go a long way. Because an escrow company is the bridge between buyer and seller, it's vitally important that you find a trustworthy and efficient company. So what should you look for?
It should go without saying that wire transfer and delivery fees, and recording charges are an important thing to know about, but it needs to be said. Knowing the fees your escrow company charges isn't only about staying on top of financial information, it's about knowing you're dealing with a company you can trust. If they aren't up front about what they expect you to pay, it's a good idea to look somewhere else.
It might not seem like a big deal, but an escrow company should be responsive when bombarded with questions about the giant, life altering purchase you're about to be making. Find out if your potential escrow officer has an assistant for just this purpose, and what information they have.
Time and experience
Reputation is important too. Perhaps most important. While I've never heard of a fly by night escrow company, variations in experience do matter. The amount of time a company has been in business can be an important indicator of their reliability, and the experience of their staff, and your escrow officer in particular, weigh heavier in importance.
These aren't things that keep many people up at night, but it's best to start thinking about it before you need it.