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Old 11-25-2018, 04:19 AM
404 posts, read 494,097 times
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I'm retired early with a disability, and widowed.

My son and his wife have asked me to move in with them. I am delighted and curious about organizing the investment I'll make in their property for myself. The loose plan is for me to add a second story onto the large garage and create my home there.

(Amazingly the garage size and location actually hit all of my wish lists for my next /last home. Brook frontage and overlooking a pasture and woods ---AND my son next door--I've hit the lottery!)

For me, the benefits are huge. Support, family, and little to no mortgage, as I will be able to pay cash for the addition. No mortgage is HUGE because without one I can travel, which is my heart's desire.

However, I'm a worrier, so if they move i'll lose my new home---unless i move too or arrange that my investment gets paid back when they sell (they love this place so not likely but i still want to plan for every contingency i can). What if they split? What if I hate the locale? What if what if WHAT IF??!

Are there some what standard agreements and contracts one can look at for more detailed info and suggestions? Is anyone here doing this already and have some insight as to how best to make it work for everyone?
I know I will need a lawyer, I hope to start a conversation here to gather more info before we get to the 200$ an hour part!
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Old 11-25-2018, 06:13 AM
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I would be very concerned about the financials. I would start by considering the zoning regulations, permits, and cost of construction. Then realize that you will be tying up a lot of your money with no possibility of a return. If your son is transferred or decides to move for any reason, your money is gone! The value of the expenses for the remodeling are not likely to be recovered if the house is sold. Next consider what happens if you move. Again, the money is gone. You seemed happy that you could afford this without any sort of loan. Maybe that is not such a good idea if it depletes your financial reserves.

Bottomline is I would not do this unless the money is only a small part of your financial reserves. If you are interested in travel, you might consider renting a small apartment. Set off on your travel adventures and later on reconsider this. The garage will still be there, assuming they did not move.
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Old 11-25-2018, 07:01 AM
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I would be concerned about climbing stairs as I get older.
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Old 11-25-2018, 07:22 AM
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These arrangements look so good on paper, but I know of two widows (age 50-something and 60-something) who tried this.

The 50-something thought it was working great, but then one day, her daughter said, "This isn't working. We need you to find another place to live." Now this woman is scrambling to find an affordable home that will meet her needs. And it broke her heart and was a financial hit, too.

The 60-something put more than $100,000 in the kids' house (her son), and the daughter-in-law didn't evict her, per se, but she made the older woman's life a living hell. She was always poking her head in the mother-in-law's door and saying, "Hey Grandma, we need to store some toys back here, and you've got plenty of room in the living room area," or "Hey Grandma, can you move your car?" (and no matter where she parked, she was always asked to come out and move the car).

It seems like the daughter-in-law lived to torment that woman and eventually, the DIL prevailed and the older woman moved out.
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Old 11-25-2018, 07:44 AM
1,137 posts, read 569,034 times
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When we had my MIL move in with us, I voluntarily footed the bill for adding a MIL wing. If we had moved before she passed, she would not have been out a dime. Given her financial situation, it would not have been fair to have her pay for it.
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Old 11-25-2018, 09:26 AM
Location: Florida
4,356 posts, read 3,692,049 times
Reputation: 4084
Two items. You may (will if you have a very long life) have problems with steps so consider an elevator or and inside staircase that you can put an electric chair lift on.

Very good to identify the problem of a possible move. If possible you should have title to the "garage". A fall back would be a life estate which would probably prevent the sale of the main property or at least severally decrease the value of the property.

The second home on the property may or may not increase the future value of the property. It will increase the real-estate taxes. I think I would try and come up with a percent to allocate the sales price of the property between the two of you in case the property was sold and leave it at that. If you can not agree on a percent then you get back what you put in. What you agree to should be filed with the local court house so you are protected.
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Old 11-25-2018, 10:35 AM
Location: Texas of course
563 posts, read 265,646 times
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I would personally be just a little nervous about this.

Yes, what If....

You mentioned what if they divorce. 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce these days, but maybe they'll be one of the couples that make it. If they did split, it could be a mess.

What if they decide to sell their home at some point? There is no guarantee that it'll increase the value enough to pay you back for your investment. Will they feel insulted if you want to consult a Lawyer?

What if you hate the locale? Spend some time in that area, get to know what is there that would be of interest to you.

What if you can no longer use the stairs? This comes to mind because many have problems with stairs as they age. If I did this, I'd have the stairs added inside the garage so a possible stair lift could be added later if needed.

Finally, I have known a few friends that moved in with family and then the SIL or DIL just decided it wasn't working out. One was living in a little efficiency above the garage and the daughter in law decided that was too close. I'm not saying this is always the case but it happens. Only you know how your relationship is, talk to them about it.

The bottom line is.....life doesn't come with a guarantee, we never know what the future holds but I'd really think about it before doing anything.

With all that said, I wish you the best and I hope it does work out for you all. It would be wonderful to have family so close!
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Old 11-25-2018, 04:15 PM
6,178 posts, read 2,849,330 times
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Since you are not intruding on the main living space I cannot see a negative .minus the stairs.
Draw up a property contingency. It's fair to invest and reside.
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Old 11-25-2018, 04:33 PM
6,212 posts, read 4,718,283 times
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Originally Posted by Nov3 View Post
Since you are not intruding on the main living space I cannot see a negative .minus the stairs.
Draw up a property contingency. It's fair to invest and reside.
This is not an investment. In fact the opposite is true. The OP will be spending money that could have been invested.
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Old 11-25-2018, 04:36 PM
341 posts, read 140,162 times
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Every partnership needs a partnership agreement spelling out the termination of the partnership (when it gets sold or the OP goes into assisted living or eventually dies as we all must). This agreement is definitely required before any money is passed between parties and everything needs to be written down after all potential issues are worked through (absolutely assisted by an eldercare attorney for the OP and the son should have his own representation) witnessed and recorded so that the OP's claim on the property is showing on the deed.

I am not an attorney but did have a business partner, still have him after 40 years. The MOST important part of any partnership agreement is the potential sale or termination. Never (NEVER) become a minority partner because the property can be sold without your wanting it to be and you may have no say-so on the sale price and lose money, lose your place to live, lose your good family feelings.

A much better idea is a rental agreement. Your son builds the garage apartment and you agree to pay rent. They get all the potential appreciation, you get a nice safe rental. The stairs do sound problematic however as years go on.

Good luck. Remember the adage "Hell is paved with good intentions."
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