Author Topic: Buying less than ideal family property  (Read 494 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Buying less than ideal family property
« on: June 01, 2020, 04:32:07 AM »
I may have an opportunity to buy my grandparents old house. They've long passed and it was passed down to their kids and it just sits there unused.  I'd possibly be able to buy them out. It'll likely need a full rebuild, but after getting ballpark estimates, it'll still be cheaper to buy/build vs buying our ideal home elsewhere in our HCOL area, by about 25%.  Cost is certainly one factor, but also there's an emotional aspect too. I spent a lot of my youth at this house. It was my grandparents pride and joy as folks who came from nothing, and they wanted it to stay in the family. There certainly is a slight feeling of obligation on my part.  The area is close to town but an older neighborhood. It's humble in a way that I appreciate, but not our ideal area. The lot itself is a sloping, corner lot, which is less than ideal either.  It's in a fairly quiet area but the house itself would be an odd multi-level layout, which is less than ideal for us too.  We've gotten to know the neighbors over the years and they all seem solid and likely be there for a long while. I think of this as a big plus.  Schools are ok, elementary is good, but afterwards we may consider private school, which would be the consideration no matter where we lived. Resale value isn't a huge priority as this will likely be passed down to our kids.

Anyone been in similar situation?  What would you guys do? Is it worth preserving the family home and foregoing our "dream" home (if it even exists)?

Probably the bigger hangup is my spouse, who of course doesn't have that emotional attachment and would rather have our "own" home, which I can understand as well. 
Edit: Spouse is indeed attracted to the cost savings and getting a custom house and generally ok with the location/layout.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2020, 09:52:58 AM by fasteddie911 »

Cpa Cat

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Re: Buying less than ideal family property
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2020, 07:19:47 AM »
It doesn't sound like a good choice for you. Your spouse would rather skip it, the lot and house are not ideal for your family. Unoccupied homes deteriorate much more quickly than occupied homes, so you can expect to watch your 25% savings disappear as hidden problems are revealed. Worse, it will probably be something that you don't get to see and enjoy, like mold, foundation problems, siding, etc.

Also, building/remodeling is stressful. It never goes exactly as planned, and with your spouse already not being totally into it, there's a high likelihood that they will resent the house and the process when it goes off the rails.

I am currently doing a full renovation on two homes that were unoccupied for a year, and not in great shape. I don't have any emotional attachment to these homes, and I still find the process stressful. It sucks to try to stay in budget while problems keep popping up, and your timeline keeps getting pushed back.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2020, 12:23:01 PM by Cpa Cat »

former player

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Re: Buying less than ideal family property
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2020, 07:39:25 AM »
There are reasons why your parent's generation have done nothing with this property for years: some of those will be personal to the situation and some will relate to the property.

I walked away from an offer to leave me my grandparents house which would have been conditional on my living in it.  Nice house in completely the wrong place, and my freedom to live where and how I chose was worth much more to me.  Still a slight feeling of guilt I suppose, but absolutely no regrets.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Buying less than ideal family property
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2020, 07:42:24 AM »
You buried the lead: it doesn't sound like your spouse is at all interested and you are looking for permission to put your memories above your current family.


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Re: Buying less than ideal family property
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2020, 10:42:43 AM »
No, don't do it.  If it weren't for the memories, you wouldn't be interested in this house.  Your kids will probably be even less interested.  Let it go.

I had a chance to buy my grandmother's house, which I loved when I was a kid, and can still remember every detail of.  But the area has declined over time, the house needed a lot of work and it just wouldn't have been the same as I remembered when it was all done.  You just can't reverse time unfortunately.


  • Bristles
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Re: Buying less than ideal family property
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2020, 12:25:22 PM »
Iím in the donít do it camp. My mother purchased her grandparentís home when their estate was being settled, for the same reasons youíre interested in purchasing your grandparentís home. In the end, the dreams of getting the whole family back together for events in the house just didnít pan out like she thought and the work it needed was way more than initially anticipated. She sold the place after about six years and hasnít looked back. I think the reality of the situation killed the sense of nostalgia.


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Buying less than ideal family property
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2020, 12:33:21 PM »
I vote no, for all the previously stated reasons.