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AIBU if I don’t want to go in on a house with my IL’s?

(119 Posts)
CanucksoontobeinLondon Wed 16-Oct-13 17:44:08

We’re moving to London next year. A few days ago my in-laws came up with a proposal. They would sell a rental property they own and put the money into our new house. It wouldn’t be a gift, it would be a long-term investment for them. Well, it would be a gift of a kind, because they wouldn’t be getting any rental income from our property while we’re in it, they’d just be getting their share back if/when we sell in future.

My initial reaction was No. Frelling. Way. I’ve heard way too many horror stories over the years about family going in on real estate together, and it all ending in tears. Or worse, in court. Don’t get me wrong, my IL’s are nice people, but this could go so wrong. They’ve always been very hands-off in the past, but they’ve always been an ocean away, so they haven’t had the opportunity to be hands-on. They offered to help out with school fees after we move, and are already starting to take a proprietary interest in which schools we pick. Plus, years ago when DH and I bought our first apartment, my parents gave us a gift of money towards the deposit. And then felt they should be consulted about every swatch of paint that went into that apartment.

DH’s initial reaction was that I was turning down a good idea, and his parents are much more reasonable than my parents were (thanks, DH). However, we talked it over, and eventually both agreed that it was a bad idea. Partly because he has two siblings, and neither of them has been offered this deal as far as we know. This could lead to serious resentment by his sibilings. There were just too many variables we wouldn’t be able to control, as well, in terms of what if IL’s get into financial difficulties in future and need their share back (it’s not especially likely, but anything’s possible). DH politely turned IL’s down yesterday, and this morning MIL was on the phone in floods of tears, talking about how ungrateful we’re being. DH is now wavering. He hates to upset his mother.

I am even more against it than I was before. I don’t want to go into business with someone who’s going to burst into tears when they don’t get what they want. DH is also wavering, I suspect, because even though he’ll be making more money at the new job, given property prices in London, he’s effectively taking a paycut to move. We’re in one of the most expensive real estate markets in Canada, but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to London. My attitude is okay, we don’t get to live exactly where we want, and we don’t get as big a house as we have now, so what? At least we keep our independence. I’d only consider it if we were in dire straits, which we’re not. The whole point of the move is so the kids will be close to the extended family they have left. (My parents have both passed away, and I was an only child) What’s the point of moving if we might end up not on speaking terms with his family within a few years?

I’m concocting doomsday scenarios here, I know. AIBU, and if not, how do I convince DH to stand fast? I’m posting this on lunch and then going into meetings, then making the DCs their dinner, so I likely won’t be able to respond for quite a while, unless one of my meetings gets cancelled. But thanks in advance for your replies. I will be reading them.

Ericaequites Wed 16-Oct-13 17:46:06

If the in laws are going to help with school fees, then it's reasonable they should have imput in picking the school(s). Those who pay the piper call the tune.

Xales Wed 16-Oct-13 17:46:38

So rather than accept you want to do your own thing your MIL turns on the tears and decides you are ungrateful.

That would seal it for me.

Don't go there with a 10ft bargepole!

RedHelenB Wed 16-Oct-13 17:48:01

If I offered financial help to someone I would never be in tears if they refused it! YANBU, stay firm!

kinkyfuckery Wed 16-Oct-13 17:48:03

If you can comfortably put a roof over your heads without their financial input, they do so.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Wed 16-Oct-13 17:51:45

You are absolutely right to worry. I thought it didn't sound like a bad plan until you got to the bit about her crying and calling you ungrateful for not accepting. It confirms all your worst fears really.

If you can afford to buy independently, you should IMO.

If your dh feels guilty now, imagine how much worse he would feel if you took the money and something went wrong - house falling in value, ils needing the money back, whatever. Would mil be on the phone in tears then as well?

QualityScout Wed 16-Oct-13 17:52:48

Some of your reservations are very sound - not wanting to cause sibling rivalry and concern about any creditors of your parents requiring them to sell the house (this could happen entirely against their wishes if eg they were sued.)

But - have you seen the London property market?! You may really appreciate the extra quality of life this may afford you.

If you sort the legal stuff out before purchase and agree % holdings then it shouldn't be a problem (well more than normal).

Are you sure they haven't helped the siblings in the past? Have you explained your concerns?

It's a nice offer. Did your dh handle it well (lots of thank your) or allow his awkwardness to come out?

I think the no cash plan is best (the tears are worrying) but a big bunch of flowers wouldn't be a bad place to start either.

For all the very well-thought out concerns and possibilities you have already come up with YANBU. I wouldn't get into any financial shenanigans with my ILs as I know we'd have to be soooooo grateful and demonstrate it on a daily basis.

Notfootball Wed 16-Oct-13 17:53:20

Don't do it. Remind DH of your parents' desire to be included in the decoration of your first place and tell him you don't want to fall out with ILs, and that this would be a sure fire way to do so. As for your MIL's tears, two words spring to mind: emotional blackmail.

TheBigJessie Wed 16-Oct-13 17:53:30

I'm with Xales. If she's unreasonable enough to start with the emotional blackmail because you said no to being offered this money, I have no idea how she'll act when she's got a half-way reasonable case for making demands of you. Like if she's loaned you money.

Don't accept this!

alarkthatcouldpray Wed 16-Oct-13 17:54:20

One word: bargepole.

Listen to your instincts!

ravenAK Wed 16-Oct-13 18:03:08

Nope.

My parents bunged both dbro & I sizeable (& equal) deposits when we were moving to 'family' size houses - on the clear understanding that it was a cash gift, no strings, & there'd be that much less, eventually, to inherit.

We both accepted gratefully.

I wouldn't have considered the offer your PILs are making for all the excellent reasons in your post. Totally different & potentially disastrous scenario.

HavantGuard Wed 16-Oct-13 18:04:07

You are so right to refuse. Family and money brings trouble. If it was a gift, fine, but an 'investment' that may be needed back at any time? That they would feel gives them a right to have a say in what is bought and where? That would mean they part owned your home? HUGE potential for conflict and ill feeling on both sides. Also, your MIL is in floods of tears over this? That sounds like the last person to get into a vague semi-business arrangement with

Squitten Wed 16-Oct-13 18:06:59

So the emotional blackmail has already started and youhhaven't even agreed to anything!

Run a mile from this one!

badguider Wed 16-Oct-13 18:08:05

I would put it this way - the is their long term investment but also your family home, how are they ever going to feel ok about liquidising their investment when they need to and turfing you out of your family home?

If they really want to invest in property maybe agree to rent it from them for six months while you look to buy your home with the understanding they then let it out on the open market after that initial period?

Can you get a mortgage to buy in London? If so, I'd just tell them that it's important to you to buy your own place.

The crying about you being ungrateful is very strange... If I offered somebody in my family financial help, and they turned it down politely it would not make me cry... very odd.

HavantGuard Wed 16-Oct-13 18:09:35

To your DH I would say, if she's crying over this and he hates to upset her, what does he think will happen when you start looking at houses and prefer an area she dislikes? If she gets upset will he bend to her wishes? What if they suddenly need some of the money back? They will after all lose the rental income. Will you end up taking on more debt to refund them? If you feel this bad about upsetting her now, how much worse will you feel if you owe your home to them?

plinkyplonks Wed 16-Oct-13 18:19:26

for the sake of your relationship and sanity, say no!!!

Moxiegirl Wed 16-Oct-13 18:24:45

Nooo!
What if they decided they had the right to move in, seeing as they owned some of it!

Lottiedoubtie Wed 16-Oct-13 18:27:59

And what would happen when (if?) they die, before you want to sell the house? You could end up being forced out by your DH's siblings in 10 years. Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

spindlyspindler Wed 16-Oct-13 18:30:11

(a) I wouldn't. I don't think that they would be able to force you to let them move in legally, but what they might be able to do is force you to sell it if they want the money back and you aren't in a position to find it.

(b) If you are seriously considering it, don't do it without talking to an IFA first.

spindlyspindler Wed 16-Oct-13 18:31:42

I assume that they want to do it because they see it as a way of avoiding (inheritance?) tax and that's why your MIL is so upset?

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 16-Oct-13 18:33:44

No, no no! It's a control mechanism you can do without.

shushpenfold Wed 16-Oct-13 18:35:49

Re: inheritance tax. A lovely idea to bung you some money to help and also avoid the tax paid on the 'over the limit' inheritance, but it needs to be no strings attached, unless you're 100% happy with that. I know lots of GP's who help with school fees and most are happy to just see how the GC's are doing, just as they would if they were not paying towards/for the fees. Otherwise....not the best of ideas.

enriquetheringbearinglizard Wed 16-Oct-13 18:36:26

Ultimately unless in times of dire straits, I think independent adults should row their own boats.
You already know the pitfalls of this generous offer, and it is generous, just fraught with potential future issues.

The most generous gifts are given without condition and if you're going to feel beholden to them or they're going to use emotional blackmail in any way then I think it's perfectly reasonable to steer well clear.

It could cause future problems between the two of you and the ILs and worse, it could possibly cause problems between you and your DH. Not good.

Mortgage companies won't be keen to loan to you if someone else has a charge against the property.

And what lottie said about what happens when they die?

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