Selling our family home

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  • Selling our family home
  • surfer
    Member

    I was born there 55 yrs ago and lived there until I was 22 with my parents, brother and sister. Years later we have all moved on and last year my mum moved into care and suffers terribly now with Dementia.
    Anyway we need to sell the house to pay for her care but for some reason we have all avoided going back to the house other than my sister who has only been a very small number of times to check on things. I chastised myself for being lazy and not dealing with it until I reflected on the fact that it clearly holds so many memories and mums illness makes it even harder. Of course its upsetting but took a long time to dawn on me…

    Anyway there this weekend to consider options and how we should deal with it. Part of me just wants it sold and to move on

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    My parents are retiring and moving this month after 22 years in the same place.

    I think the feelings come and go, they get emotional over random things, dad having to clear out all the boxes of motorbike parts and tools in the garage, mum when my car left (I’d been using their garage to fix it slowly for the last 6 years!).

    Not so complicated as the current house was part of dad’s job, I’d say they’ll lock up and put the key under the mat and shed a tear as they leave, but I don’t think they’ve locked the door in those 22 years!

    johndoh
    Member

    We are just starting to discuss similar – my in-laws were gifted a dilapidated house when they first married some 50 years ago and pretty well much rebuilt it from scratch whilst bringing up three children. They are still fit and healthy but it is a big house with even biggerer grounds (running into acres) and it’s beginning to be too much hard work for them. However my wife and her two brothers are pretty well emotionally invested in it because they know how much sweat and tears went into it over the years (we had our wedding celebration in the garden). Unfortunately her older brother lives in LA and younger brother in Oz and we don’t want to feel like we *have* to take it on (it would be a huge job to make it ‘ours’ and it isn’t in the best location for our girls’ secondary school which they start in September.

    So I am with you OP – I feel they should also just sell it and move on. We will just have to take a different route and avoid ever driving by it in the future.

    scotroutes
    Member

    Went through similar a few years ago.

    I found that the best way I could deal with it was to remove a few keepsakes and then get the house clearer in. Get someone to decorate it in a bland colour scheme. Lift carpets etc unless you think they are really adding value. Then go back. For me, it had become just a house, with no/little connection. That made the whole selling process much easier.

    Premier Icon sadmadalan
    Subscriber

    Been through this. Tried to get my mum to move for years from the house she eventually lived in for over 40 years. It is not easy, there are lots of memories for everyone. We looked at as memories are for keeping, but the house is just a physical item. When you clear all the stuff out, it gets easier, in teh end it is s relief when it is sold.

    johnx2
    Member

    Done this recently. Moot whether this was the most financially advantageous thing to do, but hassles of letting it out, maintenance etc would have been just another and unnecessary source of stress, so got shot. The most, erm, interesting part of the process was divvying up with my younger sisters who got what. Very little changes from days of sharing out cake: the one that cuts gets last choice. That way everyone’s happy (yeah, right 😉)

    Premier Icon timbog160
    Subscriber

    Just been through EXACTLY the same thing – it’s been my mums home for 64 years. Been checking on it every few weeks (not easy when it’s 3 hours away). Have come to the firm conclusion the house needs to move on and become a family home again so selling as soon as practicable.

    I’m not keen on being in there tbh – no matter how rational I am about it the weight of memory very soon becomes overpowering, especially as we’ve lost quite a few family members in recent years.

    I’ll be glad to get it sold.

    Premier Icon Dickyboy
    Subscriber

    When my dad (retired priest) died in 2018 we had to go and see the vicar in what had been our family home over 25yrs previously, especially weird seeing as the current vicar had similar hobbies and ideas of decoration.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    I can imagine how hard that must be. Luckily my folks sold up the family home – which they converted and renovated when I was a toddler. It was bad enough seeing them choose to do it, let alone have to do it for them.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    One of the best/worst things about my Dad being in the RAF was that we moved every couple of years, it made me and my brother a tight little unit, no point in arguing with each other for the most part, as sometimes each other was all we had, it made moving as an adult a bunch easier as I never get attached to houses. But it has it’s downsides, I’m jealous of folk who’ve had friends since primary, and those who’ve had a family home their whole lives.

    OP I can only begin to wonder how this must make you feel. It must be more than a little traumatic, no wonder it was difficult to come to terms with.

    Premier Icon csb
    Subscriber

    Had to do this for my dad when mum died and he needed moving. 37 years of our family memories, heirlooms and familiarity. I tried my best to be sensitive and involve Dad but in the end had to just get it done (i.e. dumped lots of stuff) for my sanity. Glad to see the back of the place in the end.

    End of 2018 my parents sold the family home they and we had been in for 36 years. Less than a year later and the buyer has bulldozed it and is having a much larger, more modern house built in its place. Seeing that was tough, but in a way it’s good as it means that it will always have been our house only, in a way.

    tjagain
    Member

    Can you turn it into a positive in your thoughts? Its been a good family home for you and now you have the opportunity to pass it on to another family so it can be a good family home for them. Look forward to another family having the same pleasure in it as you have had

    I will have this stuff to face myself sometime. I do not look forward to it at all

    Good luck

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    Bear in mind that the inheritance tax threshold is a lot higher where there is property. With my folks it’s better to rent the house (which pays towards care costs) while still alive. Also, if the cash runs out the council can’t spend all your inheritance.

    Premier Icon timbog160
    Subscriber

    In my own bout of self pity I forgot to say sympathies and good luck OP – as you can see you are very much not alone in going through this.

    It is the very epitome of melancholy 😔

    Premier Icon csb
    Subscriber

    Bigjohn, not sure you’re right that property is treated different for inheritance tax purposes. I think it’s all lumped togther (cash, chattels, property, classic cars) to give a figure from which liability is assessed.

    The allowance is the same whatever the asset types.

    I’d be delighted to hear otherwise though!

    End of 2018 my parents sold the family home they and we had been in for 36 years. Less than a year later and the buyer has bulldozed it and is having a much larger, more modern house built in its place. Seeing that was tough, but in a way it’s good as it means that it will always have been our house only, in a way.

    But the buyer can’t bulldoze your memories so treasure them 🙂

    And in years to come, the new buyer who has bulldozed your home will have to do the same with his new home!

    surfer
    Member

    Thanks everyone. Spose it’s a common situation that comes with middle age. Unhealthy dose of self pity as well..

    Philby
    Member

    Sold my parent’s house when my Mum died – they had lived there for over 50 years and I had very fond memories of growing up there. It was a real wrench clearing the house – had to give most of the contents away to charities or take them to the tip which was quite upsetting. The worst bit was going back there about 18 months later to see that the new owners had changed a 3 bed semi into a 5+ bed place which looked awful and not in keeping with the original design. I really regret going back as it felt like the new owners had destroyed all my childhood memories.

    Premier Icon reluctantjumper
    Subscriber

    I’ve got a similar task looming, not looking forward to it one bit.

    My dad bought the family home in 1976 as a shell then proceeded to renovate it as a full-on bachelor pad. Halfway through this renovation he met my mum and they married a year later. I lived there until I was 27, my sister until she was 22. We’ve had big celebrations there and have had relatives pass away there too, so loads of memories of all kinds. As they both near the end of their lives it’s hit both me and my sister that every visit is one less we will ever make.

    The clearing and selling process will be awful when it comes to it but it must be done, fully understand your thoughts and feelings on the process. Good luck and work through it!

    Premier Icon lowey
    Subscriber

    Just done this last year. After Dad died, my brother and myself have had to clear and sell the house that we were both born in. They had it over 55 years.

    Was hard to be honest. but life go’s on. It was something that needed doing.

    Premier Icon kennyp
    Subscriber

    We had to sell what had been the family home for nearly forty years when my mum and dad died within six months of each other a while back.

    Wasn’t easy but we took the attitude that we had been lucky to have a nice home for so long. Not the case for huge numbers of people.

    Life goes on and memories are more important than bricks and mortar.

    hels
    Member

    I think this has to be the most Middle Class Problem I have ever seen!

    Premier Icon howsyourdad1
    Subscriber

    Fully understand OP: I think perspective is good here, and has others have said, see the positives.  We sold our family home when I was 13 due to my parents divorce. I remember having to be forcibly removed from the cupboard under the stairs by my father, as I was totally inconsolable

    He is now dead, and my mother lives in Spain, so I see here perhaps once every two years. Still, lots of wonderful memories.

    I appreciate it may be tough, but soldier on OP!   Life is a series of ups and downs. all the best.

    Premier Icon csb
    Subscriber

    Hels, do the working and upper classes simply abandon tbeir old houses then? How quaint!

    johndoh
    Member

    I think this has to be the most Middle Class Problem I have ever seen!

    ?

    Hels, do the working and upper classes simply abandon tbeir old houses then? How quaint!

    Well said.

    Further to my post above fortunately, when my mum and dad died, we didn’t have the problem as my younger brother was still living in the property and decided he’d buy me and our other brother out and still lives there. It is very weird going back though as he’s made mum & dad’s old bedroom into a gaming room 🙂

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    Otherwise
    If you own a home your tax free threshold rises to £475000

    Loughan
    Member

    Similar dilemma here, Dad lives in a lovely Scottish sandstone house overlooking the river Tay but he’s on his own, it’s massive and he can’t get people to work on it. So for example he’s up a ladder at 73 years sorting the guttering & tiles and must be 40′ off the ground. Makes my hands sweat thinking about it!

    I’ve tried to open conversations about downsizing but he’s having none of it. There’s only one sibling living near by (Edinburgh). As others have said, there’s a lot of emotional attachment to the family home but honestly, i’d much rather he lived closer to me, the grand children and we could see him regularly every week!

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
    Subscriber

    Just getting to this with my dad’s place. We moved in in ’76 so a fair few memories. My dad died just before Christmas and we buried him last week. He stayed in his home until three weeks from the end, and was determined that’s what he wanted so it was adapted as much as reasonable, stair lift, wet rooms up and down, handrails, etc.

    The clearance question is somewhat simplified by the fact that my dad didn’t want to change anything after my mum died 15 years ago, so most of the day to day stuff is worn out and just needs a large skip, but there are boxes and boxes of keepsakes we need to get to grips with, going back to my grandparents, lots of I never knew existed.

    I’m going up tomorrow to rummage and sort, but I’m not emotionally ready to empty it yet, and I certainly don’t want to spend any more than a few hours making sure everything works before selling, I’m not looking to redecorate or anything, though I know that might get a few more grand or speed the sale, the proceeds will be split five ways so very useful but not life changing money.

    willard
    Member

    Yeah, had to do this too after my dad died. My older sister and her husband (who live close by) spent a lot of time renovating it and we rented it out for a couple of years. The family there were really good and so, when we decided to sell, we gave them first refusal on a fair market rate. Sadly it was just too much for them. we ended up selling it later that year.

    I still have a hard time going past it when I am back. So many memories from growing up and when my dad still lived there. Going through the house trying to decide what to keep was really tough too. We sat down together and decided what we wanted to keep, then put the rest to charity. I hope that it is being used to help people.

    globalti
    Member

    We are about to sell but we won’t regret leaving.

    TiRed
    Member

    In my experience, things you use daily are better for memories than static objects like a house. My grandad’s tool rack in the shed for example, my fathers spirit level. As mentioned, choose a few key momentos you will use. Clear the house and redecorate for sale or rent.

    I enjoyed our previous houses but don’t miss them. Including our family hone, which my mother left to live with my stepfather.

    What really reminds you of “home”? It might be a cooking utensil.

    johnx2
    Member

    I think this has to be the most Middle Class Problem I have ever seen!

    Indeed, not everyone’s got a home to sell. I remember going with my dad to his mother’s council flat when she moved into a home, and filling a shoebox basically. I guess we weren’t going to use her old mangle or baking gear.

    Still pretty poignant.

    fossy
    Member

    @surfer

    Put aside the emotional attachment first. Please do consider the ‘next thing I’m about to mention’.

    Currently in a similar situation. MIL hasn’t been ‘home’ for 12 months. Fell ill last year, hospital stay (thought she’d croak it) but pulled round and after respite care is now in a nursing home.

    We’ve gone down the line of the local authority putting a charge on the property. We’ve looked at selling, but here is the big crunch.

    Going through the council for the ‘place’ the cost works out at £50k per year. If we sold the property, then we’d have to go into a private negotiation with the nursing home – cost rockets to £70k per year.

    So, we’re keeping the house empty as it actually works out cheaper – it’s proper sh1t when you’ve got property and fall ill, that the lot goes on care when you’ve worked hard, but that’s another thread.

    We’ve not time to refurb the house to ‘rent-able’ standards, nor the money as it needs new bathroom and kitchen, re-wire (it’s a mess) and re-decoration – MIL doesn’t have the savings for that. Ideally the house will be sold when MIL passes away (could be years). If we rented, the council would take 90% towards care costs, leaving us 10% for maintenance/repairs/insurance – not worth it.

    The cost differential was staggering, so we’ve kept it. The SIL’s have hinted that we’d take it on, but it needs loads of work, yes it’s bigger than ours, but hasn’t the parking, and I don’t have a mortgage anymore, so no thanks.

    fossy
    Member

    It’s not so much middle class, it’s crap when you’ve actually worked hard to buy a property, then the lot goes on care. Had she had a council property, all her care would be paid for. FIL and MIL had their own business, which they worked hard for, but got taken over and they didn’t have any ‘pension’ pot. They managed, but MIL became quite severely disabled, not much after retirement, so had disability benefits that they managed on. We did suggest they down size, but that never happened, so the house wasn’t really ‘maintained’ for the last 10 years.

    PS the house is full of ‘stuff’ that non of us want so it will be skipped/charity.

    tjagain
    Member

    The “house being sold to pay for care” is a complex issue and unfair from either side. On the surface it seems unfair that if you own a home it has to be sold to pay for care – but then look at who would actually benefit if the state foots the entire bill for everyone. Taxation would need to go up to pay for it and also the only folk who benefit are the children of middle class parents. Not the person in care themselves indeed selling the property could indeed give you greater choice of care home.

    To argue devils advocate I do not see why the general taxpayer should pay for care for those who can afford it to allow middle class children to inherit.

    As I said – it looks unfair whichever direction you look at it

    Be vary wary of the council putting a charge on the home – sometimes they roll up punative interest rates

    £ 50 000 pa barely covers the cost of a care home place.

    surfer
    Member

    I dont know what your point is Hels maybe you could elaborate?

    My comments were based on me feeling sad about our family home not some statement about the fairness of elderly care costs….

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