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Kazz's avatar

Should I sell my mother's house now?

Asked by Kazz (121points) April 6th, 2009

She has Picks Disease, a form of Alzheimer’s. She’s in assisted living, and because of her condition, she does not understand that she can not move back there (will not take medication correctly, might leave a pot cooking on the stove, etc.). We (the kids) have power of attorney, but it would break her heart to sell it now. A very nice house sitting vacant, a money pit which we will most likely need the cash value of in about 8 years or more to help support her. Do we let it sit until her condition worsens to a point where she actually forgets she has a house? Who knows when that will be? The housing market is in the dumps!

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14 Answers

BBSDTfamily's avatar

If I were you I would go ahead and put it on the market but not be in a hurry to sell. I’d wait for a fair offer and tell your mother only the details she needs to know when the time comes to actually sign papers.

crisw's avatar

What’s the market like in your area? In many areas, non-foreclosed houses are going to take a very long time to sell.

Is a reverse mortgage a possibility for her?

westy81585's avatar

Well, couple things. One, the market for houses right now is god awful, so if you’re looking to break even, you’d better hope you get lucky. Two, as sad as it sounds, it could only take a few years for your mother too lose a lot of cognitive faculties and memories. I would personally suggest, that so long as the house isn’t causing a drain on you right now, you should sit on it for a few years (at least til either the market turns around or your mother turns for the worse).

In the mean time you could consider one of the family families (like your family or one of your siblings families, or someone in the extended family) living in it (if that wouldn’t be too difficult, or faux pas, or what have you).

Another option could be to outright rent it to someone. But I could see how that might be even more touchy as you would have to move all of your mothers things out of it.

Just my two cents, best of luck with the house and especially with your mother.

skfinkel's avatar

I ask this question only because it is what I think I would want if I were in your mother’s situation—any chance of moving her back into her house with the help she needs—assisted living in her own home? I know assisted living in can be very costly, so maybe it wouldn’t be more to get some help and let her stay in her own house…it’s just an idea. I don’t know what the market is in your area (where is this house?) but in some places this is a really terrible time to sell, in others, not so bad.

Jeruba's avatar

If there’s a reliable geriatric care service available in your area, skfinkel’s suggestion might be the very best thing. That’s how it went for my father-in-law, and it meant a lot to him not to be in a strange place as things got progressively more confusing for him. He had the means to have 24-hour care, and that meant peace of mind for all of us.

Kelly27's avatar

@skfinkel I also think skfinel has a good point and might be worth considering.

YARNLADY's avatar

The best choice would be a live in caretaker in her own home. This could be financed by a reverse mortgage. If not, discuss the question with her primary care physician and see what she would advise.

basp's avatar

When my parents died, we (the kids) found ourselves with a house sitting empty and a rotten housing market. We ended up renting to a couple who had flawed credit. AFter a year of making their rent payment on time, we applied the rent paid toward the cost of the house and sold it to them. Sort of a “rent to own” situation. It helped us and them and by the time we sold the house, the market was in better shape and we got more for it.
Not sure if this would work in your situation, but, it worked for us.

Kazz's avatar

The house is in Houston, Tx. There are many homes here that have been for sale for a long time. Someone said that the government will instigate a new program to help buyers but I have not further info on it. That may be the time to sell. We looked into private care, we feel it would eat up the funds too quickly. I (her retired son) would love to move in her old house and take care of her, rent out my house that is paid for. This would preserve my mom’s funds, and bring in extra cash for me, but my wife won’t have it. This may be another topic/question for a future Fluther.

westy81585's avatar

If you can talk your wife into that, that would sound like a great plan. But since your house is your home and she’s probably grown used to it, I can understand her hesitance.

Best if luck whatever you do.

basp's avatar

Jazz
It may be possible for her to stay in her home with home care. I know you dismissed this idea early on, but there are resources for that sort of thing that are free.
Contact your local Area Agency on Aging. They offer free and near free programs and services that help keep senior citizens in their homes. They also provide servces for caregivers. The eligibility is based on age. Anyone over the age of sixty qualify.
Even you are not sure of your next step, they can assist you by letting you know what your options are.

Strauss's avatar

@Kazz sorry to hear about your mother. Alzheimers is never an easy thing, and I wish the best for you and your family.

The best suggestions I have seen concern the reverse mortgage and moving your mother back into her own house. It’s possible that the reverse mortgage could provide a little income to offset the cost of home care, and (when the time comes) home hospice.

basp's avatar

A word of warning about reverse mortgages… Be sure to check it out in regards to your mom’s situation. It isn’t always the best way to go since the home will no longer be able to be willed to relatives without a payoff to the bank.
Not saying it is a bad idea… Just not the right thing for all circumstances.

Strauss's avatar

@basp I agree, I would fully research before finalizing anything!

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