Whether you buy or sell a house – your own or helping your senior parents – make sure that you get EVERYTHING that's important to you IN WRITING. And not JUST when you do the contract. If you make changes in the midst of the escrow – repairs required after a home inspection, escrow date moved closer or further, you name it – GET IT IN WRITING. And if your agent doesn't want to do it "right then, we'll do that later" be firm. If necessary, tell them your "Sandwich Generation mom" told you to. 🙂 (I always used to blame it on my dad, even after I was married and had a passel of kids. Since he was never with me, they couldn't argue about it. 🙂 ).
There are some wonderful real estate agents but, as in any other field, there are some not-so-great ones either. And sadly, I have heard of a couple who assured their clients, "Oh, that's not the right form for it. But I'll make sure IT happens." One time they referred to a specific closing date, another time it was in reference to a particular repair being done. In both cases, when the time came to close, lo and behold, it was NOT done and there wasn't anything my friends could do about it then. In one case, it cost them an extra thousand dollars they could barely afford!
In each case the agent might not have done it on purpose. Perhaps they just got too busy and forgot. But the families I know never called those agents again and never recommended them to anyone either – even though they really loved to share good deals and good people they'd worked with. All in all, in each of these cases, it was a lose-lose situation.
So if you find yourself involved in an escrow – even if you are just helping your senior parents through one – if there is something one of you wants to be sure happens, politely but kindly ask for it to be put in writing and signed by all the people involved. And if they don't have the right form with them, take the time to go back to the office to get it.
If all else fails, you might politely ask, "perhaps your broker knows a way to work around this?" But do be cautious, kind and polite (the Golden Rule is ALWAYS applicable). You certainly don't want to see an escrow fail. But you also want to see it succeed WITH the items you've requested.
How about you? Have you ever experienced anything like this? We'd love to hear about it AND the results. But no company or personal names. Just the examples to learn from. 🙂