From the newsletter I received from The California Assocation of Realtors.
"C.A.R. Achieves Compromise in AB 957,
Choice of Escrow Bill
C.A.R. achieved a compromise in AB 957, “Choice of Escrow Bill.” In multiple discussions with the author, C.A.R. worked with Assemblywoman Galgiani to come up with compromise language that will require fair treatment for real estate owned (REO) buyers in the choice of title and escrow providers.
The new language now protects fair negotiation over settlement services, and has removed C.A.R.'s opposition.
The new language will codify in California law the federal RESPA rules for selection of title insurance, and extend the same rules to protect buyers in the selection of escrow services. In a nutshell, the sellers will have to negotiate the selection of title and escrow. Under the new language, if an REO seller wants to try and direct choice of escrow, the seller will have to pay for the privilege.
AB 957 will also impose new penalties on REO sellers that violate the law, and will empower state regulators to go after both RESPA and "steering" violations."
Great news for buyers, but possibly bad news for REO sellers and escrow companies.