Life in escrow: When we compete with American Idol.

There is only so much escrow can do when escrow receives loan docs at 5pm and the borrower must sign because an interest rate lock is about to expire and the rescission period puts their back against the wall, forcing them to sign the very same day (evening). Then the borrower (s), strangely unaware of the urgency, indicates:

1. Can you come to our house between 7:00-7:30 because American Idol is on at 8pm (like tonight, cough-cough) and we can’t miss it. Or, how about after the program is over?


2. I drop Billy off at Basketball at 6:30 and pick him up at 7:30, so I won’t be home until 8:15 pm. Will 8:30 pm work for you? Oh, my spouse needs to sign as well? He does not get off his shift until midnight. Is that a problem?

Will these transactions close on time? If you do what Ardell suggests in Step #2, it is a sure thing..

I’m beginning to muster up the courage to ask management for new business hours: M-F 8-5pm; quick hour break for a run to Panda Express, sprint any last minute disbursed loan Payoff’s to the UPS terminal blocks from our office to make it on an airplane to wherever, do banking before the bank closes at 6pm; hustle back to the office, quickly re-check e-mail for more “last minute” loan docs promised days earlier, and then re-open from 6pm until midnight for signings from Bellingham to Olympia to Ephrata. Sat. and Sun. leave wide open for signings too.

14 thoughts on “Life in escrow: When we compete with American Idol.

  1. I have seen this happen quite a few times–it’s representative of a pretty interesting mindset, to say the least. It’s like we almost need to say, “dude, you’re buying a house, and there is a contract. This needs to be your priority, at least for this one day.”

    (the “dude” part is optional.)

    I think it’s great we give people all kinds of options like mobile signing and what not, but I think maybe we also need to educate or remind them about the meaning of the time is of the essence clause.

  2. I really try to encourage my clients to sign at the escrow company’s office when at all possible. My second choice would be their office or the agent’s office. It’s great to be accommodating and sometimes you have to meet people at awkward places…I think the “in home” signing may be one of the most challenging because you are on the clients turf and you lose “professional control” to all distractions in their home. You might be better off meeting them at Starbucks where you have their attention instead of them watching American Idol. πŸ˜‰ Just my 2 cents…

    BTW there are of course times I would make exceptions to meetings at home (if the client has physical or health challenges, for example).

  3. Sandy,

    I don’t have the courage to say that, yet. I’m open for suggestions, but it is getting out of hand.


    We did have our 2nd office lined up but last week (I think) is when on they closed Starbucks in the evening, so had to scramble for that bump in the road too.

    Escrow has to be flexible and sensitive to different belief/religious things—such as not being able to sign a document because the time on the clock is a “bad number.” Or, the date in which docs were produced/drawn is unlucky. You literally have to roll with the situation as it arises.

  4. It dawns on me that people who are signing while wishing they were watching American Idol probably weren’t really paying much attention to the mortgage documents they were signing.

    No wonder so many defaulting homeowners are saying “I didn’t know…”

    This makes me imagine a time in the future when, if the borrower wants to sign their documents any place other than in a quiet escrow office, devoid of distractions, including screaming toddlers, then lenders will insist that the documents be handed to the client 24 or 48 hours prior to the signing appointment so the borrowers will have time to do their due diligence.

  5. Jillayne, that’s exactly what I mean by “losing professional control”. Your Doctor doesn’t make house calls…people should meet in an office and not at home where they are feeling very “casual” and are “alert” because they are in the comforts of their own home.

    Don’t worry, Tim. You won’t have to make any changes. I hear Congress is working on a new bill to outlaw signings not done in an escrow office. πŸ˜‰

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