History 

Clairemont Mesa Escrow was formed in 1971 by Frank and Dora Beck. Karen M. Viens and Genia Engelstad purchased the company from them In 1987. When Clairemont Mesa Escrow merged with Dawson Escrow in December, 1994, the business was renamed Elite Escrow Services of San Diego.


Karen Viens is co-owner and President of Elite Escrow Services of San Diego.  She has been in the escrow business since 1976 and is a Certified Escrow Officer. Despite her extensive experience, she continues her education and maintains her certification with escrow classes, real estate courses and seminars conducted by the Escrow Institute of California and the California Escrow Association. Her main duty at Elite Escrow is to run her escrow unit. She opens, processes and closes escrows, interacting with customers and solving problems along the way. She enjoys meeting with and talking to people and closing challenging transactions.

In addition to her escrow duties, Karen also performs management and marketing duties. Her extensive experience and competence reflects the quality of service for which Elite Escrow is known.

A true San Diego native, Karen attended Patrick Henry High School, where she excelled at athletics, especially at running the 800 in track. After high school, she attended Mesa College. She continues her education thru the California Escrow Association and holds the professional designation of Certified Escrow Officer.

Karen is married and has two children. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and attending the winter and summer Olympic games.


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Genia Engelstad is Co-Owner and Vice President of Elite Escrow Services of San Diego.  She supervises the company’s daily business and she oversees the management of the three branch offices Elite has in San Diego County.   Her duties include working with clients, supervising personnel, business development and directing the practice of good, sound escrow procedures. And of course, Genia is an Escrow Officer.

Genia has worked in the escrow profession since 1979 and has performed every duty of the escrow business from receptionist to escrow officer. In 1987 at the age of 28 she became the owner of an escrow company.  Her vast experience has given her a well-rounded view of escrow and the best way to serve clients. She excels at pulling all the details together to successfully close escrow and satisfy clients.   

Genia’s philosophy is to treat the employees of Elite like they are family thus Elite has a track record of years and years of the loyal service of employees who make Elite who they are today, a leader in the California Escrow/Settlement Profession. 

Just being in the escrow business is an ongoing education! But nevertheless, Genia has completed many real estate courses, escrow classes and continues her education through the Escrow Institute of California and the California Escrow Association. As a past president of the Escrow Institute of California and a current board member, Genia keeps up with the latest trends and legislation affecting the Real Estate Industry. Genia currently serves on the Board of the San Diego County Escrow Association, the California Escrow Association and is the past AEA Director to the American Escrow Association representing California on a National level.  She currently teaches a class for the California Association of Realtors, Transaction Talk and is active in many community organizations.

Genia has been married to her husband, Jack, since 1978. Together, they enjoy four wheeling, camping, traveling and attending Padres games.