As complicated as we in the business broker community make this business to be, it's quite simple. The broker's job is to find a sellable business and find a qualified buyer to buy that business. Once the buyer and seller agree on price and terms and finish their due diligence then it's time to go to escrow. A strong and reassuring escrow officer is invaluable in this business, because at one point the buyer and seller will stop calling the broker and start calling the escrow officer for updates on the transaction. The escrow company, and officers are essentially a part the broker's team, and so it's important that they have certain standards, because their behavior ultimately reflects upon the broker too. Here are are some things I look for in a good escrow company:
Specializes In The Bulk Sale Process
It's important to find an escrow officer who is familiar with the process of transferring ownership of a business. Some escrow officers specialize in different aspects of the real estate business, and so make sure they routinely handle escrows for business opportunities. You want to make sure all the proper steps are handled, such as debt searches (State Board of Equalization, EDD, and other outstanding monies owed), lease properly transferred, etc. If you are doing an ABC transfer, then the officer should have some experience in that as well.
Receives Or Returns Call Promptly
One of the things I look for in a good escrow officer is someone who is easy to get on the phone to update on the status of a transaction. Not having your phone calls returned in a prompt manner can be frustrating, and so it s nice that the officer has a knowledgeable assistant who can answer questions from the buyer, seller, or broker. It's a bonus that the escrow officer or assistant is bilingual because as we all know; many business buyers may find it reassuring to ask detailed questions in their native tongue.
Drives The Transaction Along
The longer a deal is in escrow, the better it has chance of blowing up. A good escrow officer will be in contact with all parties to make sure the transaction is moving along. It's imperative that deal gets closed in a reasonable manner. The escrow officer should be neutral in the transaction, but also be a driving force.