Author Topic: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin  (Read 1055 times)

Mgmny

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Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« on: June 18, 2020, 11:39:18 AM »
Hello! I will try to make the intro brief, but i will follow up if anyone has any questions or clarifications.

Basically: How can I (or shouldn't i?) convince my grandparents-in-law to sell/give their cabin/land to my father-in-law (their son)?

Abbreviated backstory: My grandparents-in-law own 8 acres of land along a lake in northern MN (this is significant/very cool if you aren't from the upper midwest, just FYI). They built a very basic log home on the site in 1985. It was used 6-20x a year from 1985 until around 2005. Since 2005 until now it's decreased steadily to a point where we haven't gone to it in 3 years (my father in law went 1x last summer to cut the grass, that's it) due to it being in disrepair, and there is a mold problem (log cabins require maintenance/upkeep which was neglected here). Grandparents aren't interested in investing any money/improvements into it (no running water or sewer, just got electricity in 2010ish) because "no one uses it" which is an obvious catch-22. Who wants to sleep in a mold-infested cabin and poop in the woods? Why would we use it, unless it gets fixed?

So, my FIL has offered to put in the "labor of love" work needed to get it nice again (drill a well, add septic, mold mitigation, foundation leveling, etc), but he refuses to do all this work if the cabin is still in his parents name, because he has a brother who is, for all intents of this conversation, an aloof 48-year old who still lives at home with said grandparents. My FIL doesn't want to invest a 200k into this cabin only to have it given 50% to his brother who WILL NOT take care of it, or offer to do anything for it. My grandparents refuse to sell it to my FIL because it's "not fair" to his brother. My FIL has offered to buy his brother out, but these conversations end as soon as they start. The brother has some mental handicaps which make this type of conversation challenging for him to have.

My FIL is ready to walk away, and is considering buying his own place somewhere else on a lake, but I know in his heart he wants this place as he has many fond memories, and I do too. It's a ton of acreage on a nice, scenic lake, and the opportunities for this type of property to come available to us on the market and have a chance at buying them are slim to none.

I want to call the grandparents and just have a frank conversation with them, but i don't want to overstep my boundaries or make things worse. The grandparents are high-70s in good health, so we can't just "wait for them to die" (crude, i know, but someone might suggest it). I have a good relationship with both FIL and grandparents, but FIL and grandparents have always struggled to have these types of conversations and have them end well. They are a family that has had YEARS-long bouts of "no communication" due to family drama, which makes me nervous.

What should I do? Maybe the answer is nothing, but man, I really want to see this property used and stay in the family. Any thoughts/questions/concerns/suggestions appreciated! Thank you!


terran

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2020, 11:48:35 AM »
First question would be why are you the one to have these conversations instead of your spouse, their grandchild/child?

Also, are you aware of what if any plans their are for the uncle/brother when the grandparents die? Is their any opportunity for this to be framed as planning for his future?
« Last Edit: June 18, 2020, 11:50:57 AM by terran »

FINate

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2020, 11:59:17 AM »
My gut says this is not the place for a grandchild-in-law to get involved. If you have a good relationship with them now, you very well may not when everything is said and done.

Sounds like a great property with a lot of potential. But, sorry, you're unlikely to persuade them to sell. It's their property and if they want to let it rot for the next 10-20 years then that's their prerogative and there's nothing you can do about it. FIL is right to walk away and find something else.

CNM

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2020, 12:04:34 PM »
I'd stay out of it if I were you.  Not your circus, not your monkeys.

Mgmny

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2020, 12:11:41 PM »
First question would be why are you the one to have these conversations instead of your spouse, their grandchild/child?

Also, are you aware of what if any plans their are for the uncle/brother when the grandparents die? Is their any opportunity for this to be framed as planning for his future?

My wife shares the same sentiment as i do about the property, but because she grew up with some of the family drama, she doesn't want to stir the pot. I've been with my wife for 7 years, and things have honestly been fine from a family drama perspective. I mean, grandma and grandpa fight and don't talk for a few weeks here and there every other year or so (how do you live with someone and not talk to them for weeks... they even share meals and don't say a word. Baffles me), and my FIL has yelled at his parents a handful of times in the last 7 years - mostly about his brother. Which leads to your second question:

My uncle in law probably has a net worth of somewhere between 1-2 million. A few years ago when i told him my Fi number was 1.6M, he said, "Take it from someone who has that much and more, it's will never be enough." So I'm basing it on that statement. He owns a condo in colorado. Has a vintage car collection. Drives a Lexus, etc. He was a global director for a large recognizable company until he had an accident that nearly killed him 5 years ago. The accident caused lasting damage on his brain. He could probably live alone at this point, but i think he would probably need people to check in on him. The FIL and grandparent fighting is my FIL telling his parents that they are enabling him to be lazy. uncle was hired back by his former company before the accident. He lasted about 1 year before he was fired. I think if he wasn't so critical/prominent in the business prior to the accident, heprobably would have been fired after 1 month, but what do i know. 

Mgmny

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2020, 12:13:13 PM »
My gut says this is not the place for a grandchild-in-law to get involved. If you have a good relationship with them now, you very well may not when everything is said and done.

Sounds like a great property with a lot of potential. But, sorry, you're unlikely to persuade them to sell. It's their property and if they want to let it rot for the next 10-20 years then that's their prerogative and there's nothing you can do about it. FIL is right to walk away and find something else.

Yeah, you are probably right. I just don't want you to be right. lol

Mgmny

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2020, 12:14:02 PM »
I'd stay out of it if I were you.  Not your circus, not your monkeys.

The problem is that I WANT it to be my monkey and circus. :) I want to go up there and use the cabin and spend summers up there, but you're right. It's not my property.

Jon Bon

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2020, 12:20:04 PM »
Ok, I'll bite.

Yeah I dont think it will hurt to say anything. You have been around long enough to be on the inside, but have a different last name so an outside prospective might be valued.

We kind of went through the same thing with my grandpa and his falling down income properties. It took most of his kids just hammering the message home for six months until he went with it.

In your case I would frame it about the memories to the grandparents. "Wouldn't you like to see it have another 30 years of grand-kids running around it?"

Money is money I dont get the keeping it for lazy/disabled/whatever brother. If it is sold then the grandparents estate will increase by X amount, then they can pass a larger and more liquid estate on to their children as they see fit. If the cabin continues to fall into disrepair it will be worth less and cost more to sell when they do die.  I might also talk about how Grandpa will have more time to golf, and less to worry about etc etc.

Holding the cabin now is obviously a loser.


Mgmny

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2020, 12:29:43 PM »
Ok, I'll bite.

Yeah I dont think it will hurt to say anything. You have been around long enough to be on the inside, but have a different last name so an outside prospective might be valued.

We kind of went through the same thing with my grandpa and his falling down income properties. It took most of his kids just hammering the message home for six months until he went with it.

In your case I would frame it about the memories to the grandparents. "Wouldn't you like to see it have another 30 years of grand-kids running around it?"

Money is money I dont get the keeping it for lazy/disabled/whatever brother. If it is sold then the grandparents estate will increase by X amount, then they can pass a larger and more liquid estate on to their children as they see fit. If the cabin continues to fall into disrepair it will be worth less and cost more to sell when they do die.  I might also talk about how Grandpa will have more time to golf, and less to worry about etc etc.

Holding the cabin now is obviously a loser.

This is the answer i was looking for! And now that a stranger on the internet has given me approval, i will do it!

Ha, just kidding... maybe.... :)

I am nervous to start a "fight" where I don't have any real skin in the game, and if i do talk to the grandparents, i want to be polished in my message.

This whole thing is coming to a head because MY parents offered to buy my grandmother's cabin after she died last fall. My dad offered $X for it to his siblings, but they thought he was low-balling them and said he was not being fair. So, they listed it on the market 2 month ago, and finally accepted an offer for $10k less than my dad offered them months ago. My dad was pissed off at his siblings now, and wouldn't offer them his original price anymore because they sort of got together behind his back saying he was trying to cheat him.  I'm sad to see that place go, and maybe i'm feeling nostalgic about the same thing happening on my wife's side of the family.

BabyShark

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2020, 01:36:15 PM »
Yea I agree this isn't your fight/place and you're not likely to get anywhere and you especially can't do it without your wife's blessing.  What about some sort of convo with UIL casually?  See if you can get to the root of why he won't let FIL buy him out.

lhamo

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2020, 01:46:37 PM »
This whole thing is coming to a head because MY parents offered to buy my grandmother's cabin after she died last fall. My dad offered $X for it to his siblings, but they thought he was low-balling them and said he was not being fair. So, they listed it on the market 2 month ago, and finally accepted an offer for $10k less than my dad offered them months ago. My dad was pissed off at his siblings now, and wouldn't offer them his original price anymore because they sort of got together behind his back saying he was trying to cheat him.  I'm sad to see that place go, and maybe i'm feeling nostalgic about the same thing happening on my wife's side of the family.

Your dad was the stupid/ridiculous one here.  Everyone would have gotten what they wanted if he matched the other offer, or even paid a bit more than that.  Instead the siblings got less money and he got a bellyful of resentment.  And another family got the cabin.

If you do try to broker an agreement here try to focus on win-win-win scenarios and keep emotions out of it as much as possible.  Your FIL's lack of empathy for a sibling with documented brain damage is concerning, and something to keep in check.

Mgmny

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2020, 01:55:53 PM »
Yea I agree this isn't your fight/place and you're not likely to get anywhere and you especially can't do it without your wife's blessing.  What about some sort of convo with UIL casually?  See if you can get to the root of why he won't let FIL buy him out.

Yeah i definitely wouldn't do anything without my wife's approval - that's for sure.

 The problem with UIL is that he is textbook bipolar. Some times during interactions he is manically excited and engaging, other times he is depressed and you can be in the same room as him for 3 hours (Christmas, for example) and he literally won't say a single word to anyone, and sometimes he will just blow up (3 years ago he accused me of trying to steal his girlfriend at Thanksgiving dinner table because she asked me how my work was going... She was pre-accident relationship, they broke up shortly thereafter after he locked her out of his condo in colorado with all of her clothes/ski gear trapped inside. Wild history here).

So I guess what i'm saying is that: his response to being pushed on this will vary drastically on his mood. If he's in his depressed state, he will probably say, "get rid of it, i don't care." When he was in a good mood, we DID broach the topic to him, and he got super excited and started mapping out outlandish plans for the structure (e.g. floor to ceiling (20ft high) windows, rooftop patio on a log cabin, etc.). So, my thought is that FIL and grandparents don't trust his judgment to make a "smart" decision for himself. in 2018 he purchased a frank lloyd wright house (or his protege or something like that) to move into, but instead of moving in he let his new girlfriend and her 3 grown children move in and "destroy the place" (his words, not mine) while he stayed with his parents. I shit you not, his father, (my grandfather in law) didn't even know he purchased a house (let alone a frank lloyd wright-esque house!) for about 6 months. Then, when he found out that his girlfriend was living there (that he never approved of) with her children, he sparked another family feud. :)


charis

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2020, 02:04:44 PM »
If the brothers will inherit 50/50 but the uncle who doesn't use it also refuses to be bought out, how do the parents see this ending? For the sake of "fairness" they could sell to your FIL and keep the uncle's buyout money in a separate account with him as the beneficiary. If they don't trust his judgment, I'm not sure why they would let him control what happens to the property.

Mgmny

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2020, 02:05:00 PM »
This whole thing is coming to a head because MY parents offered to buy my grandmother's cabin after she died last fall. My dad offered $X for it to his siblings, but they thought he was low-balling them and said he was not being fair. So, they listed it on the market 2 month ago, and finally accepted an offer for $10k less than my dad offered them months ago. My dad was pissed off at his siblings now, and wouldn't offer them his original price anymore because they sort of got together behind his back saying he was trying to cheat him.  I'm sad to see that place go, and maybe i'm feeling nostalgic about the same thing happening on my wife's side of the family.

Your dad was the stupid/ridiculous one here.  Everyone would have gotten what they wanted if he matched the other offer, or even paid a bit more than that.  Instead the siblings got less money and he got a bellyful of resentment.  And another family got the cabin.

Oh, I'm very aware. We had him over for dinner last night with my mother and my mom talked again about how all the siblings were foolish and she was upset at them, but my wife and I just looked at each other knowingly. We talked about it later about how it is 100% my dad's fault they didn't get the cabin. Yes his siblings were acting sketchy when he offered originally, but it's his resentment that lost him the cabin - not their avarice.

If you do try to broker an agreement here try to focus on win-win-win scenarios and keep emotions out of it as much as possible.  Your FIL's lack of empathy for a sibling with documented brain damage is concerning, and something to keep in check.

My FIL cares for his brother. Maybe more than he deserves. Prior to his injury, he was a known womanizer, drug user, and all-around selfish asshole (I only knew him for 3ish years prior to his accident, and he was living abroad for most of the time, but that's honestly a reasonable description of him). He's softened up a bit since his accident, but i'm not sure what empathy he should be providing in this situation? FIL offered to his parents that he would buy out his brother, but that his brother could still use the cabin whenever he wanted. I'm not sure if forcing the cabin on my uncle who can't even take care of his own affairs is the most empathetic option either...

Mgmny

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2020, 02:08:33 PM »
If the brothers will inherit 50/50 but the uncle who doesn't use it also refuses to be bought out, how do the parents see this ending? For the sake of "fairness" they could sell to your FIL and keep the uncle's buyout money in a separate account with him as the beneficiary. If they don't trust his judgment, I'm not sure why they would let him control what happens to the property.

Well, i think you've hit the nail on the head - and why i'm on this forum looking for advice. It doesn't make rational sense, but grandparents-in-law don't seem to see that. Grandfather was actually on board or sort of coming around to sell to my FIL in the past year, but then grandmother in the last month played the "it's not fair to your brother" card, and I just don't know how to proceed.

charis

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2020, 02:37:54 PM »
If they are proceeding emotionally, you are probably wasting your time trying to argue with logic. You and your FIL are probably better off in long run if you pursue a new property, even if you could convince them to sell.

acepedro45

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2020, 09:10:10 AM »
It seems like your FIL would be much better off doing a separate transaction.

Quote
...the opportunities for this type of property to come available to us on the market and have a chance at buying them are slim to none.

Usually this kind of thinking is a mistake. Itís true your FIL wonít find this exact property anywhere else, but Iím sure there are lots of great alternatives.

Catbert

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Re: Help/Guidance: Persuade Family to Sell Land/Cabin
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2020, 11:00:11 AM »
If you don't want to "overstep your boundaries" then don't.  Stay our of it.