Should I buy the family cottage?

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Arpanet
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by Arpanet » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:56 pm

I'm surprised at the number of people worrying about what the siblings will think. From what I can tell, OP would be laying out $150K of his own money to keep this beloved property in the family. Were I one of his siblings, I'd be grateful! But OP is the only person who can speak to his family dynamic, of course.

I say go for it. Given OP's circumstances, $150k is a pittance compared to the value of a lifetime of family memories and the promise of more family memories to come. I honestly can't think of anything in life that's a better use of one's money.

837373684
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by 837373684 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:18 am

I did this with our family cottages (just one sibling with no interest, paid close to market value). One of the best choices of my life. It’s the only place on this ball, which has been and will be a constant in my life.

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JoeRetire
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by JoeRetire » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:35 am

Retired2013 wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:20 am
When I was executor for my mother's cottage, valued at $82K, one sibling was willing to buy at $72k. I figured it was reasonable as I would not have to pay a realtor 7% to sell. The court required all of the siblings to sign-off that they were okay with the price and buyer. Are you willing to have your three siblings sign-off with the price? Maybe include that you inherent nothing until the other three inherent an amount of $300k each before you receive any additional $$.
Since the father is still living, no sign-offs are necessary.

The father could alter his will if desired. It's completely up to him. That's the route I would choose.
Don't be a lemming.

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JoeRetire
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by JoeRetire » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:39 am

Arpanet wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:56 pm
I'm surprised at the number of people worrying about what the siblings will think. From what I can tell, OP would be laying out $150K of his own money to keep this beloved property in the family. Were I one of his siblings, I'd be grateful! But OP is the only person who can speak to his family dynamic, of course.

I say go for it. Given OP's circumstances, $150k is a pittance compared to the value of a lifetime of family memories and the promise of more family memories to come. I honestly can't think of anything in life that's a better use of one's money.
For his $150k, the OP is getting a "home is worth between 400-500K" and so is immediately getting between $250k and $350k worth of equity. Would you feel the same if the OP got the home for free? For $1?

I agree it's a great deal for the OP. For the siblings, not so much. Their future inheritance is being reduced by 400-500k.
Don't be a lemming.

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JoeRetire
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by JoeRetire » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:40 am

837373684 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:18 am
I did this with our family cottages (just one sibling with no interest, paid close to market value). One of the best choices of my life. It’s the only place on this ball, which has been and will be a constant in my life.
Sounds nice. Paying close to market value makes a big difference.
Don't be a lemming.

Retired2013
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by Retired2013 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:54 am

JoeRetire wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:35 am
Retired2013 wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:20 am
When I was executor for my mother's cottage, valued at $82K, one sibling was willing to buy at $72k. I figured it was reasonable as I would not have to pay a realtor 7% to sell. The court required all of the siblings to sign-off that they were okay with the price and buyer. Are you willing to have your three siblings sign-off with the price? Maybe include that you inherent nothing until the other three inherent an amount of $300k each before you receive any additional $$.
Since the father is still living, no sign-offs are necessary.

The father could alter his will if desired. It's completely up to him. That's the route I would choose.
Yes the father is still alive and can do as he pleases. However, if I was a sibling, I would not be happy. Why should he get a $350k instant equity gain just because he can pay $150k now and his siblings can't?

If his father were to pass today, the $500k cottage would be part of his estate and each sibling would get $125k if it were sold (assuming his will divides everything equally). That $125k would be hugh for those that can't afford it now so would those siblings be in agreement?

It just doesn't seem fair to the siblings IF everything is to be shared equally,

PoundCake
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by PoundCake » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:36 am

Since you mention that this is a cottage in MI, I'd recommend taking a look at "Saving the Family Cottage." I know a handful of families who claim to have been saved by this book -- written by Michigan lawyers. The issues surrounding second- and third-generation ownership of the family cottage isn't unique to Michigan families, but it certainly is a big issue here.

Disclaimer: I don't know the authors or have any vested interest here. If recommending this (or any) book is verboten, then my apologies to the admins, and please remove my post.

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alfredwallace
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by alfredwallace » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:06 am

Just a couple of qualifiers on this home purchase and details that may matter. Let me repeat. This isn't a flip or even a rental. This isn't a home that I would ever sell. It is a family heirloom that my dad would like to pass on for family use. My dad's offer to sell the cottage at a discount is open to all of his kids, not just me although I'm the only one who can afford to purchase it even at a discount. Some complications that I didn't mention previously- My father currently has it in the will as split four ways. He doesn't like that option because of how that has gone with other families on the lake. This would result in a tenancy in common situation where anyone who wanted out could force the immediate sale of the home. My brother is utterly broke and still gets his rent paid for by my dad (even though he is 53 years old). He has back taxes due. Unpaid student loans for a college degree he never finished. You get the idea. Anyway, he expressed an interest in living there as a "caretaker" while the rest of the siblings foot the bill including his share. Frankly, my brother can't take care of anything, even himself so that's a non-starter. One of my sisters already stated that she would never agree to such an arrangement and since my brother has been on the "parental dole" for nearly his entire life, why should he sponge off of us once my father has passed? She stated plainly that she would never co-own anything with my brother or be financially tied to him in any way. I tend to agree with her. This would immediately trigger the sale of the property to which my brother and other sister are vehemently opposed. Currently my siblings visit throughout the spring, summer, and fall while my dad pays all the expenses and taxes. He would be giving me (or any other kid who has 150K) a discount and they would then take over the taxes and maintenance in exchange for sole ownership but perhaps liberal visitation by my siblings and their families. This last point has not been discussed in detail. I'm open to that and would love to have my siblings visit often. That's what we do now and the cottage is where we meet every year. I don't want to ever change that. I also know that joint ownership with my siblings probably won't work so it is either a sale of the property down the road or some arrangement like this. As long as nobody lives there year round (i.e. my brother), I'd be fine with frequent use and visits from siblings. They wouldn't even need to chip in with any expenses other than food. I certainly wouldn't charge them rent or anything. It isn't an investment in the sense that most real estate would be because I would probably never rent it out and never sell it thus calling it a potential "financial albatross". In fact, if one of my siblings had 150K and reversed roles, I'd be fine with that. I could go up and visit and not have the maintenance or tax encumbrances. I do want my kids to have it when I pass on rather than share with my siblings, nephews, and nieces because of the exponential tendency of branch-share LLC arrangements with cottages that make it progressively more difficult to manage with each generation. My dad and siblings are unaware of how much money I have. Previously my siblings offered 10K each to my dad to transfer the property. Needless to say that offer wasn't accepted so as low as 150K is as a steep discount, I had siblings proposing considerably less than that. This was the amount my dad said he would take. If for any reason my dad needed money for nursing home care, I'd liquidate the property to pay for it if necessary. Of course beyond the sentimental value, and utility as a vacation property, I do wonder how big of a crimp it would make in my retirement finances. Thank you all for your insightful comments as usual. As weird as this may seem, the inheritance difference has never come up which is what the majority of comments here discuss. I'd be willing to forgo any other inheritance particularly if I think this may keep the peace with my family. My dad views this me being a generational steward and caretaker for the property. In many ways my dad served that role while owning the property.

michaeljc70
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:25 am

Given your father's intentions, he could put it in a trust so it could not be sold (at least anytime soon) and also put money in the trust for upkeep and expenses. Then the whole family could use it without anyone worrying about ability to pay or having to come up with $150k or who owns it.

Saving$
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by Saving$ » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:26 am

Short version: You should buy it because:
1. If the other option is your dad sells or siblings inherit it and there is a forced sale, you will regret not having bought it
2. From a pure investment sense it is a good idea - you are getting an asset for $150k that has a far higher value. If it becomes a financial burden, or you need the money for either your dads care or you and your wife's care in retirement, you can either mortgage it or sell it at a significant gain, so there is an easy out with upside. Consider it just kicking the decision of whether to keep it in the family down the road.
3. You seem like a saver, and you can't take it with you...this cabin is something you would clearly enjoy.

Longer version:
You said your siblings have no idea how much money you have. Keep it that way.
Sit down with the two siblings who offered $10k, and won't own it with your brother and thus force a sale, and tell them you think you might be able to swing buying it from your dad to keep it in the family, but in putting the numbers together, you wonder what they could contribute for using it every year. Could they each pay for utilities during the time they use it? Or could they pay a modest $200/week (or $400 or whatever you set) if they use it exclusively to help offset some of the maintenance costs? Or could they pay both? Don't go into it counting on these payments, but if they could swing it and they actually do pay it will make you feel better about shouldering the burden of this place.
Also ask the siblings how they would feel about you Air BnB'ing the place for a few weeks a year to help offset expenses. You may not want to or intend to do this, but it would be good to know their thoughts on this.
Lastly, discuss with the other two siblings what your plan it to prevent the deadbeat brother from going up there for a weekend with all of you, and then just staying, and declaring himself the caretaker and refusing to leave. This is a real possibility especially once your dad no longer foots the bill for his rent. You need a plan to counter this.
Last edited by Saving$ on Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

HomeStretch
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by HomeStretch » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:28 am

Keeping the sentimental property for family use with you as sole owner/steward makes sense. If it were me (and it’s not), I would encourage dad to discuss the proposed sale at a family meeting and to lay out use by family. Everyone gets one chance to air out how they feel about it.

*If* there is family discord over your below-market purchase price of the family cottage, one possible way to handle it could be for you to give dad an IOU for the purchase discount (net of taxes) where the principal amount (and interest forgiveness?) is reduced each month/year by an amount that reflects your property stewardship costs (taxes, insurance, upkeep, utilities, etc.). The remaining balance, if any, would be factored into the split of dad’s estate to his heirs. You’d have to discuss proper tax reporting by dad/you of the arrangement with a tax professional.

This suggested example is only necessary *if* there is any family discord over the financial side of this. People can be funny about money and it’s good to avoid relationship issues with family over this property transfer.
Last edited by HomeStretch on Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JoeRetire
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by JoeRetire » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:39 pm

Retired2013 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:54 am
JoeRetire wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:35 am
Retired2013 wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:20 am
When I was executor for my mother's cottage, valued at $82K, one sibling was willing to buy at $72k. I figured it was reasonable as I would not have to pay a realtor 7% to sell. The court required all of the siblings to sign-off that they were okay with the price and buyer. Are you willing to have your three siblings sign-off with the price? Maybe include that you inherent nothing until the other three inherent an amount of $300k each before you receive any additional $$.
Since the father is still living, no sign-offs are necessary.

The father could alter his will if desired. It's completely up to him. That's the route I would choose.
Yes the father is still alive and can do as he pleases. However, if I was a sibling, I would not be happy. Why should he get a $350k instant equity gain just because he can pay $150k now and his siblings can't?
I agree - I wouldn't be happy either.
If his father were to pass today, the $500k cottage would be part of his estate and each sibling would get $125k if it were sold (assuming his will divides everything equally). That $125k would be hugh for those that can't afford it now so would those siblings be in agreement?

It just doesn't seem fair to the siblings IF everything is to be shared equally,
It doesn't seem fair to me either.

But that's on Dad. He can do whatever he wants with his assets and his will. He can give everything to anyone he chooses, or split it any way he prefers.

No court is going to require a sign-off from the siblings while Dad is still around.
Don't be a lemming.

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JoeRetire
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by JoeRetire » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:49 pm

alfredwallace wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:06 am
This isn't a home that I would ever sell.
That's easy to say now. But at some point (financial downturn, divorce, bankruptcy, death) it may not be possible to keep. And of course once you are gone your heirs will get it unless you stipulate something in your will.
My father currently has it in the will as split four ways. He doesn't like that option because of how that has gone with other families on the lake.
I agree with your father. Leaving something for "everyone to share" is never wise.
My brother is utterly broke and still gets his rent paid for by my dad (even though he is 53 years old). He has back taxes due. Unpaid student loans for a college degree he never finished. You get the idea. Anyway, he expressed an interest in living there as a "caretaker" while the rest of the siblings foot the bill including his share. Frankly, my brother can't take care of anything, even himself so that's a non-starter.
Sounds like your brother would benefit most if the cottage were sold and added to your father's estate for division when he passes.
He would be giving me (or any other kid who has 150K) a discount and they would then take over the taxes and maintenance in exchange for sole ownership but perhaps liberal visitation by my siblings and their families. This last point has not been discussed in detail.
That's a red flag. Not discussing all of these points in detail is a problem waiting to happen.
I also know that joint ownership with my siblings probably won't work so it is either a sale of the property down the road or some arrangement like this.
Sale is the safest path by far. It is guaranteed to be fair to all siblings.
Previously my siblings offered 10K each to my dad to transfer the property. Needless to say that offer wasn't accepted so as low as 150K is as a steep discount, I had siblings proposing considerably less than that. This was the amount my dad said he would take.
Why? What's magic about $150k?
I believe you indicated that your dad didn't need the money. So if he would give a $350k discount, why not more?
If for any reason my dad needed money for nursing home care, I'd liquidate the property to pay for it if necessary.
Doesn't that defeat the whole point of "keeping it in the family"?
As weird as this may seem, the inheritance difference has never come up which is what the majority of comments here discuss. I'd be willing to forgo any other inheritance particularly if I think this may keep the peace with my family. My dad views this me being a generational steward and caretaker for the property. In many ways my dad served that role while owning the property.
The inheritance difference hasn't come up yet.

If it were me, I'd gather the entire extended family and make a point of bringing it up before a decision was reached. To me, that's the right thing to do.
Don't be a lemming.

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4nursebee
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by 4nursebee » Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:01 pm

No, do not buy it.

Your posts says nothing about enjoying the place and does say lots about lots of other expenses
4nursebee

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Watty
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by Watty » Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:14 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:25 am
Given your father's intentions, he could put it in a trust so it could not be sold (at least anytime soon) and also put money in the trust for upkeep and expenses. Then the whole family could use it without anyone worrying about ability to pay or having to come up with $150k or who owns it.
+1000

The trust could also be set up so that if the father or step mom ran short of funds then the home equity then the house could be used to support them.

To avoid all the problems with there being 40 great grand kids that would eventually be beneficiaries of the trust it could be specified that the house would be sold in 50 years and that proceeds would then be used to pay for the descendents college. People within the family could be give the option of buying the house for the fair market value then before it is sold to the public.

London
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by London » Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:38 pm

I would buy it and not care about most of the noise in this thread. Alternatively, if I couldn’t afford it, I would hope my sister would buy it. I wouldn’t care one bit about things not being equal.

I’m not trying to be sanctimonious, just showing that there are families out there who don’t care about the will. Maybe your family is like ours, maybe it’s like some of the others. That’s something only you can determine.

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JoeRetire
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by JoeRetire » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:04 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:25 am
Given your father's intentions, he could put it in a trust so it could not be sold (at least anytime soon) and also put money in the trust for upkeep and expenses. Then the whole family could use it without anyone worrying about ability to pay or having to come up with $150k or who owns it.
Not a bad idea at all.

That way everyone benefits equally, and nobody is burdened financially.
Don't be a lemming.

cherijoh
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by cherijoh » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:28 pm

celia wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:06 pm

But this is family. Your dad got it for a good deal, instead of his siblings.
You raise an interesting point, Celia. How did the original transfer work from OP's grandmother to OP's father. Was he an only child? If not was their resentment from his siblings?

lostinjersey
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by lostinjersey » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:51 pm

If anyone in America should buy the family cottage, it’s you.

cherijoh
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by cherijoh » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:13 pm

alfredwallace wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:06 am
Some complications that I didn't mention previously- My father currently has it in the will as split four ways. He doesn't like that option because of how that has gone with other families on the lake. This would result in a tenancy in common situation where anyone who wanted out could force the immediate sale of the home. My brother is utterly broke and still gets his rent paid for by my dad (even though he is 53 years old). He has back taxes due. Unpaid student loans for a college degree he never finished. You get the idea. Anyway, he expressed an interest in living there as a "caretaker" while the rest of the siblings foot the bill including his share. Frankly, my brother can't take care of anything, even himself so that's a non-starter. One of my sisters already stated that she would never agree to such an arrangement and since my brother has been on the "parental dole" for nearly his entire life, why should he sponge off of us once my father has passed? She stated plainly that she would never co-own anything with my brother or be financially tied to him in any way. I tend to agree with her. This would immediately trigger the sale of the property to which my brother and other sister are vehemently opposed. Currently my siblings visit throughout the spring, summer, and fall while my dad pays all the expenses and taxes. He would be giving me (or any other kid who has 150K) a discount and they would then take over the taxes and maintenance in exchange for sole ownership but perhaps liberal visitation by my siblings and their families. This last point has not been discussed in detail. I'm open to that and would love to have my siblings visit often. That's what we do now and the cottage is where we meet every year. I don't want to ever change that. I also know that joint ownership with my siblings probably won't work so it is either a sale of the property down the road or some arrangement like this. As long as nobody lives there year round (i.e. my brother), I'd be fine with frequent use and visits from siblings. They wouldn't even need to chip in with any expenses other than food. I certainly wouldn't charge them rent or anything. It isn't an investment in the sense that most real estate would be because I would probably never rent it out and never sell it thus calling it a potential "financial albatross". In fact, if one of my siblings had 150K and reversed roles, I'd be fine with that. I could go up and visit and not have the maintenance or tax encumbrances. I do want my kids to have it when I pass on rather than share with my siblings, nephews, and nieces because of the exponential tendency of branch-share LLC arrangements with cottages that make it progressively more difficult to manage with each generation. My dad and siblings are unaware of how much money I have. Previously my siblings offered 10K each to my dad to transfer the property. Needless to say that offer wasn't accepted so as low as 150K is as a steep discount, I had siblings proposing considerably less than that. This was the amount my dad said he would take. If for any reason my dad needed money for nursing home care, I'd liquidate the property to pay for it if necessary. Of course beyond the sentimental value, and utility as a vacation property, I do wonder how big of a crimp it would make in my retirement finances. Thank you all for your insightful comments as usual.

As weird as this may seem, the inheritance difference has never come up which is what the majority of comments here discuss. I'd be willing to forgo any other inheritance particularly if I think this may keep the peace with my family. My dad views this me being a generational steward and caretaker for the property. In many ways my dad served that role while owning the property.

I think you are being a bit naive if you think your deadbeat brother will be okay with this arrangement. I'd be willing to bet he will think this gives you an unfair advantage - even if your father has subsidized his expenses for many years which most would consider "unfair" to you and your other siblings.

Trader Joe
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by Trader Joe » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:14 pm

alfredwallace wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:26 am
My father owns the family cottage which he inherited from my grandmother. He bought out his brothers at a deep discount after my grandmother’s death and he is now 82 years old and doesn’t want to deal with the upkeep. He wanted to pass the cottage down by selling it to one or more of his children at a similar steep discount similar to what he got when he purchased it. He is willing to sell it for about 150K. The home is worth between 400-500K. Out of his four children, my brother is in zero financial position to buy anything. One of my sisters doesn’t want it because she lives 20 minutes away. My other sister is interested but after two divorces doesn’t want to buy at that price but would consider sharing it with me. My sister who is interested in the property is a bit of a control nut and sometimes makes questionable financial decisions. My dad would actually prefer selling to one kid since it keeps it in the family and removes all the problems associated with co-ownership. The question is should I offer to buy it? I posted earlier about sending my kids to college and gave a short version of my finances, but to recap here, I make 84K a year and my wife makes about 38K. I'm 50 and my wife is 47. I have an 11 year old and 13 year old. They each have about 21K saved in 529 plans and I contribute an additional $200 to each of their accounts monthly and throw in additional funds when I have it. If the market returns about 5%, I'm anticipating we'll have about 50K saved per kid in each plan. Our annual baseline living expenses are about 50K a year and between employer contributions and our own, we save about 28% of our gross income. We have no debt other than a mortgage that will be paid off two months before my son is scheduled to start college in five years. My wife has about 58K saved in a Roth IRA and I have an additional 80K saved in a Roth. The rest of our retirement is tied up in 403Bs. Between the Roth and 403b tax-deferred, as of today we have 1.146 million saved in retirement and an additional 94K in short term "emergency" funds. Of the emergency funds, we have 30K in checking and short term savings, another 36K in VFIAX and another 30K in VMMXX.

My kids have the option to attend the liberal arts college I work at for free and could commute since it is only 2 miles down the road so they have an essentially free four-year college option with 50k each available. The annual costs for the cottage is about 4.5K in taxes (no HOA fees) and probably another 3K in maintenance costs annually (just guessing). My dad is intense about his home upkeep so there is zero deferred maintenance. In fact he just put in new windows, vinyl siding (it was completely rebuilt from the foundation in 1996) and it literally has two roofs to handle the snowfall (it's in Northern Michigan). It is furnished, includes a dock, ski boat, boathouse etc. I view this as less of an investment than a family heirloom since I have no intention of selling it but just passing it on to my kids—who love the place. My siblings would probably be staying there from time to time so renting it probably would be intermittent at best, but possible. My wife and I could stay there for 2-3 months in the summer due to our current jobs and maybe a month in the winter. None of my siblings have similar jobs that would allow for that.
Purchasing the cottage (2500 square feet) would potentially put a crimp in the retirement savings and/or kid’s 529 plans. We were planning on buying a lakehouse in the area when we were going to retire anyway but wouldn’t choose to buy one now given a choice. I’m just curious who would buy it if they were in my position now? If so how would you finance it? Home equity loan? Bleed off a Roth? Drain some emergency savings? I should point out that as a tenured full professor, the odds of me getting fired is very low. Is this a financial albatross or once in a lifetime opportunity? If none of my siblings want to buy it, he’ll put it up for sale and keep the money in case he needs it for nursing home care. He told me multiple times that he doesn’t need any money for it. He’s in great shape financially. I've been going to this place since I was born so it has a lot of sentimental value to me. Thanks for your advice.
Yes, buy it.

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JoeRetire
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by JoeRetire » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:25 pm

cherijoh wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:28 pm
celia wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:06 pm

But this is family. Your dad got it for a good deal, instead of his siblings.
You raise an interesting point, Celia. How did the original transfer work from OP's grandmother to OP's father. Was he an only child? If not was their resentment from his siblings?
It's the second sentence in the original post:

"My father owns the family cottage which he inherited from my grandmother. He bought out his brothers at a deep discount after my grandmother’s death "

The OP's father got it at a deep discount. I guess the OP wants an even better discount.
Apparently, the OP's uncles got something out of the deal. It's not clear that the OP's siblings will get anything at all.
Last edited by JoeRetire on Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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celia
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by celia » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:32 pm

Surely, your wife understands the family dynamics. What does SHE think about the possible purchase?

Would you be using jointly-owned money to buy it?

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Socrates
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sorry I skimmed

Post by Socrates » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:10 pm

key is where is it located
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StealthRabbit
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by StealthRabbit » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:48 am

London wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:38 pm
I would buy it and not care about most of the noise in this thread. Alternatively, if I couldn’t afford it, I would hope my sister would buy it. I wouldn’t care one bit about things not being equal.
...
this...^^^^^^^^

'Sharing' a cottage ownership / maint / responsibility / insurance / use... is a huge burden and opportunity for lifelong distress.

Buy it
enjoy it
share it as possible.

As a sibling who always got the shaft while others got the gold... I would be very PLEASED for someone in the family to get this and care for it. Even if it was not me.

Life is never 'fair', and there is a PRICE paid to own this stuff FAR beyond the cost of buying it.
Whoever has the passion to own and manage it. BUY it!

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Hawaiishrimp
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by Hawaiishrimp » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:18 am

House worth 400-500K. He sells to you at 150K. Buy it, that's a no brainer.

If you don't want it later, you can always sell it for a profit.
I save and invest my money, so money can make money for me, so I don't have to make money eventually.

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F150HD
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by F150HD » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:40 am

Post directly above +1

I think you'd have deep regrets if you don't buy it.

Issue- if you buy, will siblings want free access then you're footing the bill for all of it? (maybe this was addressed, did not read all 76 posts)

mmmodem
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by mmmodem » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:46 am

Speaking as the owner of the family home, don't do it. Most replies are concentrating on the investment aspect. It's not an investment. It's a timeshare. And like a timeshare, it's difficult to sell and even if you do, you'll be glad to break even. Others will live there without your permission, just like a timeshare. You are responsible for taxes, insurance, and maintenance just like a timeshare.

My BIL moved in because his wife and my father said it was fine. Did any discuss this with the owner, me? Sure, after he had already moved in. And what am I going to do 2000 miles away? Create an uproar in the family? The place is empty. "Dad said it was okay."

And are you really going to turn away your destitute brother and let him live on the streets when he hits rock bottom? There is an empty home right there. That's right, free housing for the less financially capable in the family. The family discussed it and agreed it was for the best. Funny how they were able to support their lifestyle just fine before and now they can't. :confused

If I had $150k laying around and I didn't need it for any reason. Sure, I would buy the family home. Add on that buying the family home at a significant discount comes with significant strings. This is just like borrowing money from family. If it works, everyone is happy. But when there are problems, the whole family is involved even if it's just between you and one person.

We weren't given much of a choice when buying the family home. Well at least not like yours. Not buying the family home would've added more complications. The decision and the responsibility didn't just go away. So in yours shoes? I'd let dad sell it.

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hsmith
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by hsmith » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:15 pm

mmmodem wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:46 am
Speaking as the owner of the family home, don't do it. Most replies are concentrating on the investment aspect. It's not an investment. It's a timeshare. And like a timeshare, it's difficult to sell and even if you do, you'll be glad to break even. Others will live there without your permission, just like a timeshare. You are responsible for taxes, insurance, and maintenance just like a timeshare. ... [cut] ... The decision and the responsibility didn't just go away. So in yours shoes? I'd let dad sell it.
I agree mmmodem. Here's why. I know someone who "inherited" a family vacation home in the north. The title is held by a LLC. The four siblings are co-owners of the LLC, and feel they have equal rights to 2 weeks' stay each summer, and a veto over the style of any improvements to the property (e.g., new kitchen cabinets). But only my friend has any money; the other three siblings are broke, and AFAIK, have never contributed any money toward taxes, insurance, improvements, maintenance or any other costs. My friend pays over $10-15k of expenses every year, and gets to stay there only 2 weeks each year. All of the other weeks are taken by the siblings and renters. The property is unusable in the late fall, winter and early spring, due to cold and winter weather conditions.

My friend could have great vacations and great memories, with no family hassles, by putting the $10-15k toward vacations in any location. Instead, she is stuck with the financial responsibility of paying for, insuring, renting out and maintaining the property while the other siblings freeload.

almostretired1965
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by almostretired1965 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:46 pm

hsmith wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:15 pm
mmmodem wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:46 am
Speaking as the owner of the family home, don't do it. Most replies are concentrating on the investment aspect. It's not an investment. It's a timeshare. And like a timeshare, it's difficult to sell and even if you do, you'll be glad to break even. Others will live there without your permission, just like a timeshare. You are responsible for taxes, insurance, and maintenance just like a timeshare. ... [cut] ... The decision and the responsibility didn't just go away. So in yours shoes? I'd let dad sell it.
I agree mmmodem. Here's why. I know someone who "inherited" a family vacation home in the north. The title is held by a LLC. The four siblings are co-owners of the LLC, and feel they have equal rights to 2 weeks' stay each summer, and a veto over the style of any improvements to the property (e.g., new kitchen cabinets). But only my friend has any money; the other three siblings are broke, and AFAIK, have never contributed any money toward taxes, insurance, improvements, maintenance or any other costs. My friend pays over $10-15k of expenses every year, and gets to stay there only 2 weeks each year. All of the other weeks are taken by the siblings and renters. The property is unusable in the late fall, winter and early spring, due to cold and winter weather conditions.

My friend could have great vacations and great memories, with no family hassles, by putting the $10-15k toward vacations in any location. Instead, she is stuck with the financial responsibility of paying for, insuring, renting out and maintaining the property while the other siblings freeload.
So that's why his father had the right idea about selling it to a single individual. He can continue to be generous to his siblings regarding the use of the property, AND he also has the means to put a stop to it if they ever choose to abuse the privilege.

Granted, I do not have deadbeat siblings and implicitly trust my parents and sister to always do the right thing (and have never been disappointed). My wife on the other hand, has a somewhat different experience with her family. It has been a source of tension through out our marriage in how we deal with our respective relatives. It was difficult, particularly at the beginning, in reconciling how we jointly handle issues that arise with them, but over time we have learned to compromise. I see a bit of that same tension in this thread between those who see it as a no-brainer and those that point out every pitfall that may arise. A bit like whether one should get a pre-nup ..... :-)

A

Pigeon
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by Pigeon » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:16 pm

I would not buy it. We faced similar situations with both my parents and my in-laws, with vacation homes on both sides. It will create friction with your siblings that will never go away. There's no way that you getting an extra $300K inheritance is going to not cause resentment.

You say that you "will never sell it." You also assume that your kids will want to continue to spend time there. When your kids get a little older, they may well be much more interested in spending their summers with their friends. I know I was. Your kids may get married some day. The future daughters/sons in law may not want to spend their vacation time with their in-laws. I know I surely didn't. Your kids may move anywhere in the world and visiting the cottage may be out of the question.

While the free tuition perk for your kids is awesome, what happens if your daughter wants to be an electrical engineer and your employer doesn't have an engineering program?
Last edited by Pigeon on Tue Nov 12, 2019 6:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

ncbill
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by ncbill » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:06 pm

Buy it or have dad sell it...no co-owners, even in trust:

I have majority interest in an old family cabin...I inherited my parent's share & then gradually bought out most of their siblings.

But the last sibling wants 50% more than what their share is worth, so I'm stuck waiting for them to die so I can make a reasonable offer to their (literally-on-the-other-coast) heirs.

natchez
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by natchez » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:15 pm

How would you primarily feel if you learned tonight that your father had accepted a stranger's offer and sold it to him? Relief? Or sorrow?

In your place, given everything you've written about your history with it (for your kids as well) and your future use of it, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. It's not an irrevocable decision to buy it; you can always sell in the future if it turned out be a mistake (and share some proceeds with your siblings if you wish). But NOT buying it can be an irrevocable decision.

Dottie57
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:56 pm

natchez wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:15 pm
How would you primarily feel if you learned tonight that your father had accepted a stranger's offer and sold it to him? Relief? Or sorrow?

In your place, given everything you've written about your history with it (for your kids as well) and your future use of it, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. It's not an irrevocable decision to buy it; you can always sell in the future if it turned out be a mistake (and share some proceeds with your siblings if you wish). But NOT buying it can be an irrevocable decision.
Agree with the whole of this post

CedarWaxWing
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by CedarWaxWing » Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:58 pm

I would discuss it is full with your siblings and get their expressed approval of the deal, while letting them know you plan on sharing it with them liberally, and especially hope to continue having the families get together there, just as in the past.

Agree on how everyone who goes there... leaves it clean and ready to go for the next persons.

Someone mentioned the cost of education for your kids at a U. other than where you work:

Michigan has some great state universities that can very well cover most any major. U of M and M.State are each very good.
The tuition costs there are very reasonable... as you likely already know well. :)

Buy it, enjoy it, and use it to keep the family getting together as much as possible. If the sibs can use it and not have expenses for doing so... that is a great deal for all. Splitting ownership is in the long run likely to cause far more troubles than what you and your dad have discussed. It is also good for you dad to unload the costs, but still be able to go there as much as he wishes.

Good luck.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:29 pm

Why does the cottage need to change owners now?

You could help your dad manage it until he dies. He can will it to you and you alone, and let your siblings split the rest of the estate. That way you get it at the stepped up basis, and you can keep saving for your retirement instead of shelling out $150K plus taxes, insurance, and maintenance for the rest of your father's life.

Are you willing to evict your brother when he moves in? Because where else is he going to live when your father starts stops paying his rent.

Anyway, this is what my mother calls borrowing trouble. There is no problem now that needs fixing. Your father owns the house and can keep owning it until his death. What's the hurry?
Last edited by NotWhoYouThink on Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

MrsBDG
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by MrsBDG » Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:56 pm

I'd buy it; I'd also have some blunt serious talks with the siblings to talk about the 'what ifs' and what could go wrong and who could get mad and what ugly things could arise. Discuss it before it happens, talk through expectations so you know you are all really on the same page, not just thinking you agree and later to learn of conflict.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:35 am

duplicate
Last edited by NotWhoYouThink on Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:36 am

duplicate

renue74
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by renue74 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:00 am

harvestbook wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:57 pm
I bought the "family beach house" for a "steep discount" and ended up spending a lot of time and money on renovations. The work was enjoyable, but it's been 10 years and every trip there ends up with at least a day of work just maintaining it, much less finishing up the final touches. The family loves to stay there for free without doing any work, while I foot the bill for mowing, utilities, taxes, insurance, etc. Pretty sweet deal for them.

The worst part is, when we have a window for a vacation, it's usually, "Well, we better go check on that place." The end result is we very rarely get to take vacations anywhere else. And it's set back my retirement at least two years, and I don't really have the option to sell it due to emotional reasons (the emotions of others, not mine.)
+1. We have friends who have family beach houses that need to "stay in the family."

I'm not really sure why this is a thing. It would be different if you approached your parent about buying the property because you really wanted it. But, I would never be guilt tripped into buying.

If you ever sale for market value and/or outside of the family, your siblings will not be happy with your decision.

We have a family lake house that my inlaws own. There are 5 siblings and only 1 who would really want it. So I would be more than happy for him to have it in the future, but I don't wish forced ownership on anybody.

I know sometimes financial decisions are made on emotions and it all can't be clear black and white lines.

michaeljc70
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:08 am

renue74 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:00 am
harvestbook wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:57 pm
I bought the "family beach house" for a "steep discount" and ended up spending a lot of time and money on renovations. The work was enjoyable, but it's been 10 years and every trip there ends up with at least a day of work just maintaining it, much less finishing up the final touches. The family loves to stay there for free without doing any work, while I foot the bill for mowing, utilities, taxes, insurance, etc. Pretty sweet deal for them.

The worst part is, when we have a window for a vacation, it's usually, "Well, we better go check on that place." The end result is we very rarely get to take vacations anywhere else. And it's set back my retirement at least two years, and I don't really have the option to sell it due to emotional reasons (the emotions of others, not mine.)
+1. We have friends who have family beach houses that need to "stay in the family."

I'm not really sure why this is a thing. It would be different if you approached your parent about buying the property because you really wanted it. But, I would never be guilt tripped into buying.

If you ever sale for market value and/or outside of the family, your siblings will not be happy with your decision.

We have a family lake house that my inlaws own. There are 5 siblings and only 1 who would really want it. So I would be more than happy for him to have it in the future, but I don't wish forced ownership on anybody.

I know sometimes financial decisions are made on emotions and it all can't be clear black and white lines.
Good points. If you weren't getting a discount a good question to ask yourself would be "if my family didn't own this house would I be buying it?" Or is this the most ideal style/location/size for a 2nd home? But I am a lot less sentimental than most people.

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Kitty Telltales
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by Kitty Telltales » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:18 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:08 am

Good points. If you weren't getting a discount a good question to ask yourself would be "if my family didn't own this house would I be buying it?" Or is this the most ideal style/location/size for a 2nd home? But I am a lot less sentimental than most people.
My mom, who lived full time in her place in South Florida in the late 90's, bought it for many reasons that suited her life at that time. She had lived in the area for 15 years, so she knew where to find what she needed. I remember her reasoning:

Because of location, especially to highways that would took her quickly to other parts of South Florida
Because it was perhaps one of the less expensive retirement communities in the county, and it still is so I can also afford to keep it
Because it sat on the edge of a public golf course, where she could just carry her clubs to a cart and play cheaply
Because it had a lovely pool
And it had an elevator and a walk in shower

I also like it because it's near an international airport, perhaps she had thought about that too.

I bought it from my siblings after her death 15 years ago and it has been, for her reasons and many other reasons, a good fit in my own life. I often feel really grateful to her that she did the legwork in finding it. Plus I get a very homey feeling there while it still has a few of her things and a bit of her spirit.

Sometimes we do go to check on the place and that is a drawback. Although I've travelled quite a bit in my life and don't have much of a desire to take an around the world trip anymore. We enjoy living our "other life" in our own 2nd place in South Florida.

Our next visit has been scheduled around the next South Florida Bogleheads meeting.

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JoeRetire
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by JoeRetire » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:35 am

Kitty Telltales wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:18 am
I bought it from my siblings after her death 15 years ago and it has been, for her reasons and many other reasons, a good fit in my own life.
So you bought it from your siblings?
And you didn't purchase it from your mom at a discount while your siblings got nothing?

Makes sense to me.
Don't be a lemming.

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sergeant
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by sergeant » Sun Nov 24, 2019 12:59 pm

I would definitely buy it, as an individual. I would let my siblings use it. If they abused my charity I would have no problem cutting them off.
Lincoln 3 EOW! AA 40/60.

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Kitty Telltales
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by Kitty Telltales » Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:51 pm

sergeant wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 12:59 pm
I would definitely buy it, as an individual. I would let my siblings use it. If they abused my charity I would have no problem cutting them off.
I've let my mother's siblings use my place, usually when they didn't want to spend too much time with their own kids. It made me their favorite niece. :wink:

ARoseByAnyOtherName
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName » Sun Nov 24, 2019 3:14 pm

One consideration I haven’t seen mentioned is if you dad may need Medicare to help pay for a nursing home as he ages.

Medicare does have a 5-year lookback period where they examine large financial transactions for things like sales that are below market value. They can asses penalties which include delaying the start of Medicare coverage.

I’m not an expert on this, and I’m not sure if Medicare is at all relevant to your dads health care coverage or aging plans, but it is something to think about.

Dottie57
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 4:38 pm

ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 3:14 pm
One consideration I haven’t seen mentioned is if you dad may need Medicare to help pay for a nursing home as he ages.

Medicare does have a 5-year lookback period where they examine large financial transactions for things like sales that are below market value. They can asses penalties which include delaying the start of Medicare coverage.

I’m not an expert on this, and I’m not sure if Medicare is at all relevant to your dads health care coverage or aging plans, but it is something to think about.
Substitute Medicaid for Medicare.

ARoseByAnyOtherName
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName » Sun Nov 24, 2019 5:26 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 4:38 pm
ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 3:14 pm
One consideration I haven’t seen mentioned is if you dad may need Medicare to help pay for a nursing home as he ages.

Medicare does have a 5-year lookback period where they examine large financial transactions for things like sales that are below market value. They can asses penalties which include delaying the start of Medicare coverage.

I’m not an expert on this, and I’m not sure if Medicare is at all relevant to your dads health care coverage or aging plans, but it is something to think about.
Substitute Medicaid for Medicare.
Thanks for the correction, I always get those two confused!

lifeisinmirrors
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by lifeisinmirrors » Sun Nov 24, 2019 5:47 pm

Buy it, but see your tax advisor. The IRS will deem a sale to a family member at below market value as a gift. I don't think you will owe any taxes on the gift because there's a lifetime exclusion.

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Kitty Telltales
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Re: Should I buy the family cottage?

Post by Kitty Telltales » Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:42 pm

JoeRetire wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:35 am
Kitty Telltales wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:18 am
I bought it from my siblings after her death 15 years ago and it has been, for her reasons and many other reasons, a good fit in my own life.
So you bought it from your siblings?
And you didn't purchase it from your mom at a discount while your siblings got nothing?

Makes sense to me.
You bring up a good point that the OP sounds like he is working out. Sadly it's too late for me. What's done is done. However, 15 years later when my father passed away, they were divorced, one awful sister tried to say that I had taken advantage of the situation with my mother's place. However, she was my mother's executrix and the decision maker at that time. She had suggested back then to "share the condo", but with me paying the others off up front and her paying me at some unknown time in the future. I said no of course, either she bought it or I did. I only saw problems with her.

After my mother passed, I looked around her place and did see many things I had helped her upgrade or buy. Like the poster, I knew it inside and out. That's an advantage too. I realized I had been making the investment long before she passed away.

To the OP, don't do anything too complicated in trying to keep everyone happy. If it's not clear, cut and dry, then walk away. That's my opinion.

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