I came upon your posting and I am very familiar with Econohomes. I have closed a good number of properties with them and I can explain what you went through, and why. For starters, Econohomes entire platform is geared towards the more serious investor. It is not a field for the faint of heart. I expect that the sales staff is so accustomed to working with seasoned investors that they may not explain things in the detail that newer investors need and I can tell you from experience, coaching a regular homebuyer through an Econohomes closing is no easy feat.
The first issue you have to overcome when working with these properties is "the current system." Econohomes can only play by the rules that the banks have laid out. When Econohomes buys a package of 250 properties they are given proof of purchase but the original deeds have to be processed by the bank/servicer. Econohomes is at their mercy. It is just another one of these things that we now find ourselves dealing with in the foreclosure mess. Because Econohomes has to wait on the original deed to file it in the courthouse, they do not show up as owners sometimes for several months. They are still perfectly legal to sell, as they have the necessary documents to prove ownership.
You could have gotten title insurance. All of my clients insure titles on the properties they purchase from EH.
I think you could have used some coaching before you stepped to the plate at EH. I know many things seem "funny" when you do not fully understand. Had you really understood AND had a title agent there to help, I think you would have been fine.
Truly, to have access to these properties at these kinds of prices, you do have to be on a certain level. Econohomes has an inventory of over 1000 properties at last count. That is a LOT of RISK. They put up large chunks of cash and they take on large risk in order to get the discount. If you want a piece of that discount, you have to understand the game.
I would be more than glad to discuss personally. I truly hate to see you lose out on that source of properties if you are investing.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org