The settlement agent (Escrow Officer) must be a disinterested third party and each state has different requirements for licensing. In some areas of the county, only a licensed attorney may act as the settlement agent.
There are two important reasons for selecting an established company:
1) The processing and closing of real estate transactions require a tremendous amount of technical experience and knowledge 2) The settlement agent is responsible for safe-guarding and properly distributing funds and documents required to successfully complete the transaction.
Settlement agents with established firms, such as Chicago Title, generally are experienced and trained in real estate procedures, title insurance, taxes, deeds and title insurance.
A settlement agent must remain completely impartial throughout the entire escrow settlement process. He or she will normally adopt a courteous but rather formal manner when dealing with parties to the escrow, keeping conversation to the matters at hand in the escrow. This formal behavior is meant for the benefit of all concerned, since the settlement agent must follow the instructions of both parties without bias.