Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

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Lynx310650
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Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by Lynx310650 »

My dad was unfortunately diagnosed with Stage III cancer. We are still early in the process and trying to lock down an appointment with an oncologist for treatment options.

My spouse and I were finally in a position to purchase a home in our VHCOL area, and were planning to start looking around in December. For affordability and lifestyle (no kids), we were going to look at 2/2 type condos or townhomes. Our budget would be right around $1M, and we have about $250k liquid saved up for a down payment plus some cushion. We were hoping to spend less though.

If/when my dad passed, my mom would have to live with us. She's not capable, nor does she want to, live on her own. We'd have options to consider if/when that happens (such as whether we want to move in with her, whether to sell her house and use proceeds to buy new house for all of us, etc), but bottom line she can't live with us in a 2/2 condo.

Meanwhile I got 250k basically sitting in savings accounts in a high-inflation environment.

I'm thinking my dad's condition and prognosis may be clearer toward the end of the year, so should I wait and see? Just postpone/cancel the idea of buying a place and invest the 250k?
quantAndHold
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by quantAndHold »

I’m sorry about the diagnosis. That’s hard stuff.

A question. How long were you planning on staying in this home? I ask, because with or without the diagnosis, it seems that your mom is going to be living with you at some point. It’s just that with the diagnosis, it might be sooner than you expected when you were planning things last week.

Would it make sense to go ahead and start looking, but plan to have a space for mom in the place you’re buying now?
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
Wannaretireearly
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

I'd pause for a while on the home purchase - i don't think you'll miss out on anything given current values. At least til you know more about Dad's treatment plans. It's stressful for the family, I've been there. It will take up your time too it seems. Figuring out treatment plans, alternative therapies, leave of absence from work, medical insurance billing/mistakes etc. I'd try not to add to that list personally. See where the chips fall, it may be a busy 3/4/5 months getting comfortable with the tangible/intangible aspects of a sick family member.

Godspeed - sorry your Dad/family is going thru this. You're asking the right questions.
Death and taxes. Only one is under your control!
Freetime76
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by Freetime76 »

Sorry to hear that - good luck to your dad.
In this scenario, we’d wait and see. You may know more in a few months, and swapping real estate due to life changes has a high transaction cost.

Let the cash sit (it gives you flexibility). You never know, the market might cool off enough to offset inflation. Area dependent, of course.
Please spell out new acronyms. Thank you.
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lthenderson
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by lthenderson »

Sorry to hear about the diagnosis. I wouldn't wish it on my enemies.

Having lost a parent to cancer, my vote would be to proceed with the purchase. Cancer can be cured, death delayed for many years/decades or kill someone quickly. No sense on you putting your life on hold until you find out the end result for you father. If I needed a different house and the perfect one for my needs came along, I would move on it. Probably the only thing that would change my mind is if the home I was intending to purchase was going to need a lot of my time fixing it up in the near term. Then I might consider putting it off or going with something more turnkey.
exodusNH
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by exodusNH »

Lynx310650 wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 4:06 pm My dad was unfortunately diagnosed with Stage III cancer. We are still early in the process and trying to lock down an appointment with an oncologist for treatment options.

My spouse and I were finally in a position to purchase a home in our VHCOL area, and were planning to start looking around in December. For affordability and lifestyle (no kids), we were going to look at 2/2 type condos or townhomes. Our budget would be right around $1M, and we have about $250k liquid saved up for a down payment plus some cushion. We were hoping to spend less though.

If/when my dad passed, my mom would have to live with us. She's not capable, nor does she want to, live on her own. We'd have options to consider if/when that happens (such as whether we want to move in with her, whether to sell her house and use proceeds to buy new house for all of us, etc), but bottom line she can't live with us in a 2/2 condo.

Meanwhile I got 250k basically sitting in savings accounts in a high-inflation environment.

I'm thinking my dad's condition and prognosis may be clearer toward the end of the year, so should I wait and see? Just postpone/cancel the idea of buying a place and invest the 250k?
I'm sorry about your situation.

It looks like your timelines all align at the end of the year. It seems that there's no harm waiting, which will keep you flexible. If your mom isn't capable of living on her own, she probably can't take good care of your father. Depending on the treatments and course of the disease, he may wind up needing close to 24/7 care. Not having to worry about a new house during that time will buy you a lot of mental space.

In terms of inflation, I think it's better to say it's higher than most of us are used to, not necessarily high. It's also being compared to a nearly deflationary environment 1 year ago. I'd just part it in a "HYSA" and reevaluate after December.
hi_there
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by hi_there »

OP, very sorry to hear about your situation, but I think the answer regardless is to not buy that 2br condo. As your situation shows, life conditions can change any time. I don't know how you are with respect to family planning as well. Either way, this does not seem like a situation where you would stay put for 10 years or whatever it will take to justify the home purchase.
Rudy Tooty
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by Rudy Tooty »

No idea what type of cancer is being referenced here. But Stage 3 is not always a death sentence. I had Stage 3. I'm doing great and look forward to another 12-15 years of life.

I understand uncertainty is stressful. It may be smart to temporarily put the brakes on future plans until you scope things out and get a better idea where the future will lead you. We all have lives, time marches on and the only way we progress is through movement. Develop a plan and a contingency or two to fall back on - then decide when to pull the trigger.

Odds are everything will fall into place and turn out fine. All the best.
Carol88888
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by Carol88888 »

I would think this diagnosis has taken its toll on you already. You don't know the outcome and you can't control the outcome.

But you can control how you act and maybe you need to careful not to do anything that causes more stress and worry to you at this time.

If you can delay the home purchase and deal with it later, that may be a better solution. Of course, this is a a very personal decision and only you know what you can handle.

A phrase of Dave Ramsay's comes to mind. He can say some silly things about investing but I think he was right on when he said " a house can be a blessing or a curse." He was talking about overextending oneself and becoming house poor. That's the last thing you would need. You don't want any more problems heaped on your plate. Go slow.
Katietsu
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by Katietsu »

You were not planning on moving forward for another 6 months anyway. I would not do anything now.

If Mom would not live on her own if/when Dad passes, what type of help might she need with Dad sick? Stage 3 cancer can mean very different things so I hesitate to give specific advice. I will just say that your Mom may need anywhere from some to a lot of help whether your Dad beats the cancer or not. I would start thinking about the easiest way to meet your parents’ needs without overwhelming yourself or damaging your marriage. This is very personal. For some people, moving in with the parents would make it easier and for others that would be a horrible choice.
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Lynx310650
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by Lynx310650 »

quantAndHold wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 4:11 pm I’m sorry about the diagnosis. That’s hard stuff.

A question. How long were you planning on staying in this home? I ask, because with or without the diagnosis, it seems that your mom is going to be living with you at some point. It’s just that with the diagnosis, it might be sooner than you expected when you were planning things last week.

Would it make sense to go ahead and start looking, but plan to have a space for mom in the place you’re buying now?
Thank you for the well wishes. We didn't have any immediate plans to move out of this house after x years, we were going into it with an open mind. It's true that in the back of my mind living with my mom was a consideration, but it was a very distant thought. My parents are in their mid-60s, were fairly healthy until now, and 3/4 grandparents lived at least 86 years. Sure sudden accidents can happen, but the idea that I'd even be contemplating a scenario where my father is not in the picture for at least 10 years or so was so distant.

Not sure if buying a place with space for mom would be an option because there would be other options open to us if/when dad passes, such as us just moving into their house (although we'd have to pick up and move), her selling her house and using proceeds to buy larger house with us, etc.
Katietsu wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 6:24 pm You were not planning on moving forward for another 6 months anyway. I would not do anything now.

If Mom would not live on her own if/when Dad passes, what type of help might she need with Dad sick? Stage 3 cancer can mean very different things so I hesitate to give specific advice. I will just say that your Mom may need anywhere from some to a lot of help whether your Dad beats the cancer or not. I would start thinking about the easiest way to meet your parents’ needs without overwhelming yourself or damaging your marriage. This is very personal. For some people, moving in with the parents would make it easier and for others that would be a horrible choice.
Others had a similar question or concern about my mom. She's actually super healthy and totally functional (if that's the right word). The reason why she wouldn't be able to live alone has a lot to do with cultural (it's pretty common in our culture to to have parents live with adult kids), her difficulty with the English language, and some other considerations. But she is actually quite capable of taking care of my dad and things like that, she just needs her kids to deal with talking to insurance, calling doctors, etc.
Rudy Tooty wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:58 pm No idea what type of cancer is being referenced here. But Stage 3 is not always a death sentence. I had Stage 3. I'm doing great and look forward to another 12-15 years of life.

I understand uncertainty is stressful. It may be smart to temporarily put the brakes on future plans until you scope things out and get a better idea where the future will lead you. We all have lives, time marches on and the only way we progress is through movement. Develop a plan and a contingency or two to fall back on - then decide when to pull the trigger.

Odds are everything will fall into place and turn out fine. All the best.
It is colon cancer. Thank you for the well wishes.
blackburnian
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by blackburnian »

If I were you, I think I would put off the home purchase and focus on the near term. Your dad will probably have surgery and then chemotherapy. He and your mom will need a lot of support during that process. Stage three colon cancer is often cured, so he may be just fine. I certainly hope so. Best of luck to him.
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cchrissyy
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by cchrissyy »

I'm sorry about your dad and I hope he recovers!

I agree this is no time to make other big decisions like what place can/cannot accommodate your mom if widowed.
You just don't know your housing needs and it's fair to say hey, I can't proceed on this idea until I know more.
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celia
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by celia »

Even though this may be tough on you, it is likely harder on your mom.

I would let things progress and each of you be there for each other. If your dad dies (or even if he doesn’t) you will all need to have a ‘say’ on future housing. So just wait to see what happens. A family death or health scare is a big stress on all of you, so you don’t need the additional stress of finding a place and moving for a while.
paisa
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by paisa »

Lynx310650
I am so sorry about your dad. He may go in remission with treatment but the emotional and physical toll of cancer treatment is high. The caregiver suffers too while the doctors and the family rally around the patient. Children suffer when they see their parents go through a terrible experience. The house/condo is one stress you can control as you go through this difficult period yourself. Take your time. You will move into the right house when there is more clarity and less uncertainty. All the best.
anaparafunds
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by anaparafunds »

I'm sorry to hear that. I hope they'll recover and for the short term, I hope you find a solution you're comfortable with.

Take care.
TheDDC
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Re: Dad diagnosed with Stage III cancer: postpone home purchase? Down payment?

Post by TheDDC »

lthenderson wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 4:27 pm Sorry to hear about the diagnosis. I wouldn't wish it on my enemies.

Having lost a parent to cancer, my vote would be to proceed with the purchase. Cancer can be cured, death delayed for many years/decades or kill someone quickly. No sense on you putting your life on hold until you find out the end result for you father. If I needed a different house and the perfect one for my needs came along, I would move on it. Probably the only thing that would change my mind is if the home I was intending to purchase was going to need a lot of my time fixing it up in the near term. Then I might consider putting it off or going with something more turnkey.
+1

This should not be viewed as a death sentence (as long as there is *competent* medical intervention, that is). I would proceed as planned.

-TheDDC
Rules to wealth building: 75-80% VTSAX piled high and deep, 20-25% VTIAX, 0% given away to banks, minimize amount given to medical-industrial complex
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