On Hauling Rocks and Escrow

Mar 1, 2012 by Bruce Baldwin

There’s an old story about a fellow walking past a new construction site where a line of burly men were each pushing a wheelbarrow full of heavy stones from the one spot to another. Curious, the pedestrian asked one of the men, “What are you doing?” With a scowl and an unconcealed sneer, the workman replied, “Can’t you see? I’m hauling rocks.” Still curious, the man asked the next wheelbarrow pusher, “What are you doing?” Somewhat casually, the man replied, “I’m building a wall.” Still not satisfied, the pedestrian approached a third workman. This workman had a smile on his face and had been whistling softly to himself as he moved the heavy wheelbarrow along. Intrigued by the obviously different attitude, the pedestrian asked the worker, “What are you doing?” “Oh,” said the man, “I’m building a cathedral!”

  More about attitude and cathedral-building in a minute. Last month in this column I introduced our new company name, Guardian Title and Escrow, and described our background and experience in Rocky Point real estate over the last 16 years. We ended that column with a discussion of our Company’s #1 Principle – Our Customers’ Interest Comes First.  In short we noted that:

 

We prosper only if we serve our customers as we would serve ourselves or our families. If we are not the best vendor of the service(s) you need, we will not hesitate to tell you…upfront…no charge. When some other entity could better serve your needs, we’d rather earn your respect for honesty and fair-dealing than any fee you could possibly pay us.

                                 

This month I want to chat about Principle #2 because it is particularly relevant to Guardian’s escrow services. Principle #2 is that we are A Truly Independent Third-Party in real estate closings and escrow. When we are retained, we are not previously connected in any way to the Buyer or the Seller. Neither needs be concerned that we favor the other because of some pre-existing relationship.

  For hundreds of years (thousands, perhaps?) buyers and sellers have used a third party to hold money or goods until all terms of the transaction have been met. The word “escrow” is derived from the Middle English word “escrowl” – meaning “scroll.” Other variants include the Anglo-Norman term “escrowe”… or the French term “escrowe.” All terms translate to “scroll” which, essentially, infers a checklist. The checklist is the escrow agent’s best friend

When an escrow is established, both parties want an independent third party who they know will not favor the other party. That is, the escrow holder (i.e., escrow agent) must not be closely associated with either party. The fact that Guardian Title and Escrow is independent of any other entity in Rocky Point derives from Principle #1 which is that Our Customer’s Interest Comes First.

  Because we are an independent third party who puts the interests of our clients first (Principle #1), we do not list, promote or sell Rocky Point real estate or accept commissions or honorariums from those who do. Rocky Point is fortunate to have many excellent Real Estate companies and Realtors® that do an excellent job of providing those services. Our function is different. We don’t negotiate or arbitrate the deal. Our job is to take over, once an agreement has been made. We do so in an impartial manner; respecting the best interest of both parties and favoring neither.

This is where “building cathedrals” comes in. Throughout history, buyers and sellers have employed “trusted third parties” to hold title and payments until such time as all parties had fulfilled their obligations. It is also a matter of record that in many cases the “trusted third parties” turned out to be, decidedly, NOT trustworthy. Unfortunately, that has happened here in Rocky Point too; mostly when the “trusted third party” had conflicts of interest.

We at Guardian Title and Escrow work very hard to avoid such conflicts and to protect our 16 year reputation in Rocky Point for honest, forthright, and dependable services. We truly enjoy our work. Personally, I’m retired from ASU. I don’t need to work. But I’m still “building my cathedral” and enjoying every day. Each day in Rocky Point is an adventure with new people to meet and new challenges to master. May the work on your cathedral be as enjoyable as mine.

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