AIBU to want a say in this? Warning MIL related!(70 Posts)
Will try and keep this succinct....
FIL died suddenly a year ok. MIL lives a good 2 1/2 drive from us, in a hosue they had only moved to a year previously which is in a small village and she doesn't drive. She is not an outgoing person nor particularly independent (for example we had show her how to use the oven when FIL died, she sends us unopened post to deal with, she cannot/will not deal with anything that us outside her very small comfort zone). She is not particularly old - mid 60s.
She has decided that she wants to move up near us. We're happy with this- it makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons.
We have chosen an area for her which we really likes - decent selection of shops, a GPs, dentists, vets etc - and have shown her a number of properties in the vicinity all of which haven't been suitable for one reason or another.
She has now got an offer on her house and its a very short chain. She is terrified of losing her buyer and in her words is now 'desperate' to move (for the sale to proceed and because she apparently 'hates' it where she currently is). She has offered on a house here and it has been accepted. However I think it's a mistake.
The house is nothing like what she originally wanted. It's a semi and she was she adamant she wanted a detached. It's further away from the town centre than she wanted - a good 15 min walk, she wanted under 10. It's in a poor state of decoration - at the least it needs a new bathroom and the ceilings and walls plastered in most rooms. The biggest thing for me is that it doesn't have central heating. It has storage heaters, and nothing at all in the kitchen, bathroom and hallway.
Bearing in mind that this is a elderly lady, recently bereaved, who doesnt cope well with change and disruption I don't think this house is the right decision.
DH and my BIL both take the view that its her decision and that if she thinks she can cope with it then its fine. I take the view that the move needs to be easy and this is not easy. Added to this is the BIL and his family live abroad and DH works 13 hour days (with his commute) and we have two small children. At the end of the day it will be me who deals with the fallout of the move when she can't work the heaters, needs a lift somewhere etc etc. All of which I am happy to do, within reason. But this house just makes an already difficult move, even more difficult.
AIBU to want to be able to influence the decision and have people listen to my concerns?
Sorry not succinct, but at least I used paragraphs!
Has anyone considered suggesting she rent something for a while instead of buying?
I think your concerns are valid ones. How you can influence the choice I'm not sure. Can you speak with you MIL directly a share your worries about the property? Explain to her that with your other commitments you won't always be available if things are going wrong?
I'm with you on this, OP. The house sounds completely unsuitable - more like a building project than a smooth move, and you'd cop for all the associated aggravation.
I'd put my foot down and try to find an alternative house asap.
No central heating for an elderly person - no, that won't do.
You're right, you'll be the one dealing with it later,
I'd say something now.
Why is it you that has to deal with everything? Careful that your not taking on all the responsibility for your husbands mum just because your the woman, as so often happens.
At first i was going to say that you should just jdatdwgt to her to chose her house but it really does sound like the one she has chosen needs a lot of work!
I would make it clear to your husband and bil that anything relating to the house is up to them to deal with.
You should voice your opinions better wait a little bit and get a suitable house than rush in and get a house for the sake of it.
Yes, I have suggested renting. She won't. Stated reason is because her cat won't cope with doing two moves (she won't consider rehoming or a cattery for the period). She also thinks it is a waste of money (and possibly a backwards step?)
Well I can see your point of view
However, two things stuck out in your post:
You say that "we" have chosen a nice area for her. Ultimately, the choice of area is hers so perhaps she likes the area she has chosen to buy in better?
You start of by saying she is not that old but conclude that she is "elderly". Maybe you don't mean to but the inference I drew is that you see to be implying that she's not capable of making a decision. She's really not that old so unless she has other issues
mental health? that make her vulnerable then she is entitled to chose the house
All you can do is point out any draw backs and perhaps suggest she rents for a bit to give her more time to chose
Oh. Surely she and your H and BIL realise she's not going to be able to move in straight away if plastering, new bathroom, etc etc need to be done, in which case the cat's going to be disrupted twice, like it or not? And if she doesn't, they need to tell her and back you up.
I certainly doesn't ideal.
Do you have space for her temporarily?
Then she would be a 1st time buyer and in a much position to buy when the right place comes along.
As you have to deal with it all then I suggest that you make your concerns heard and listened to.
Blimey, she can't even open her own mail. This decision should be joint - IMHO!
The no central heating for me sounds the biggest problem. I have no central heating it is COLD it is also blooming expensive I'm talking £300 a month.
Whilst your in a tricky position that is a big problem. If she's worried about two moves will the cat be ok with the work being carried out?
Sorry, just seen the other points. I have voiced my opinion and have been 'over ruled'. There is very little on the market here, especially that fits her criteria but this is so far from suitable IMO. I have suggested waiting to see what else comes on in the new year but she won't wait.
I can say that DH and BIL have to deal with it all but in reality this isn't going to happen and at least as far as DH is concerned I want to help because he works long hours and is actually still grieving himself. And I'm a SAHM so arguably do have more time to help out.
Yes "we" have chosen the area for her but she wants to live near us, we know the area and she doesn't and she doesn't drive so it does limit what's on offer. She is happy with the town, to the extent she has told us not to bother looking at other areas because she has her heart set on this one. I just think that the house she has chosen is just that bit too far away from the centre and the walk will quickly become something that she chooses not to do.
I'm just at a loss as to how to persuade them how wrong this decision is. I've tried to insist that all the work (including putting in central heating) is done before she moves in but she completely underestimates the disruption and thinks she can live there "well they're very clever with how the cover things with dust sheets aren't they" ?!?
op your MIL is not "elderly" btw!
If she has the money to get people in to do the work I do t really see a huge issue.
Also, she is not elderly if she's in her 60's!
I don't see how you can be involved in the decision making if it's her wishes and money tbh.
coffee I see you are also thinking the MIL is elderly!
If you are expected to help care for your mil, then you should absolutely have a say.
Your DH and your BIL are bing incredibly unreasonable to support this when they aren't the ones having to deal with the consequences.
If the move to an unsuitable house goes ahead without your valid concerns being listened to, then you need to state clearly that you will not be responsible for dealing with any of the consequences of her being far from town, having no heating, needing a new bathroom etc. Then you will need to be strong and stand by it, otherwise they will take the less out of you.
We do have space for her on a temporary basis though it would be a bit of a squeeze. I have no idea what she would do with the cat in those circumstances. Ours would eat her for breakfast!
Tricky. I'd end up facilitating everything too, as it sounds like you will. Not that you should, at all, it just somehow creeps up on you and before you know it, you're embroiled in a situation you can't reverse out of without a lot of aggro. So - it's great that you're taking steps to avoid this before it happens.
FWIW, I think the main problem here is MIL's attitude - she's only mid 60s, which by today's standards isn't old! At all! Why can't she do more for herself? Does she understand that she'll be the one organising renovations and so on should this particular house go ahead? You've already got your hands full with two little ones - she'll need to organise work and so on herself or pay a projec manager to oversee things for her. Make sure your DH is fully aware of this too and doesn't assume you'll step in. Is that what he and his brother think? Assume? Or haven't they really thought it through?
MIL is in her 70s and has only electric storage heaters, as does my friend down the road with a new baby and 2 kids under 5 - we don't have mains gas or gardens big enough for oil tanks round here!
But that aside, there are other factors too which make it not ideal - I think she panicked, but if shes decided, there's probably not a lot you can do about it.
If you're not careful she will end up moving in with you while she looks for a new home and still being there in 5 years (as happened to friend of mine!)
Can you do what the likes of Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsop do on Location - approach all of the estate agents in the desired area and ask to be told of any new properties that come on to the market as soon as possible?
Could you print off a flyer and post it into the houses in the area that you're agreed on (that your MIL likes too) and say that you have an interested buyer who is ready to move and if they are thinking of selling their house, they should contact you on <insert a pay as you go mobile number here> and see if that might get you a house in the area that you're considering.
I think you need to spell it out for your DH (less so for the BIL as your DH should then be able to sort it out) that this is going to cost your MIL a lot more than the price of the house as there will be a lot of extra expenditure she will have - rewiring, installing central heating etc etc and that while you don't mind helping out, you're not taking on a house refurbishment project? Also, you would like your MIL to have money set aside should she require it for any unforeseen circumstances?
She isn't that old but obviously has been used to her late husband doing everything for her.
It does sseem as if she is rushing into this because she wants to move from somewhere that sounds as if it could be isolated for a non driver. But moving to a completely new area is a big step. I think your Dh and his brother should strongly suggest the renting somewhere to test the waters - in fact as she seems pretty helpless (which could be down to depression ?) somewhere rented with the landlord taking responsibility for the major maintenance etc sounds a good idea.
A relative of mine moved from a village to be nearer her son and his family after her husband died. She hated it and moved again fairly soon - so I suppose that is colouring my judgement
Can you write out a brief list and present it to her as a 'this is what you'll need to do' list so she can see how much needs doing to the new house?
I don't see why you should be organising plasterers etc! If you do you're setting a pretty dangerous precedent: every time something goes wrong you will be called. You'll be turning down her duvet each night before you know it.
So the cat is going to cope well with builders ?.......
You could try the supportive approach so you don't have to play bad cop. Can you find a suitably qualified builder or surveyor to do a walk around the house with her and cost up the work that needs doing along with time estimates to complete it?
You could also pray that the FULL survey is suitably scary?
Also, just because it's a short chain doesn't mean that everyone will want to move quickly. They won't move before Christmas now; people may be locked into fixed term mortgages with penalties for leaving early and not want to go anywhere for a few months.
If it softens my use of "elderly" at all, she is not a young 67, though she does not have any physical difficulties. She may not be old in years but her attitude and approach makes her very dependent. I may stop there for fear of offending further....
Gobbolin- perhaps you are right, I may not think she is capable of making the decision. Not because of her age though, but because of being bereaved and being desperate to move. I don't think they're good ingredients for making a rational decision.
Added to that is that she has never really made independent decisions. FIL was very much in charge. Whether they was by design or consequence I don't know but she has never had to do anything for herself. Her attitude now appears to be that DH will step in and do what her husband did her her.
I am thorn in the side of all local estate agents pestering them about new properties on the market.
I just see this going very wrong and I want to stop it now.
Also - given that you have presented her with a selection of far superior properties "which haven't been suitable for one reason or another"; and she has chosen a lessor house, further out from town in a bad state of repair all suggests that she doesn't feel she can afford the houses shown to her to date. All the more reason to get a full costing on the work that needs doing. Too much daytime telly and she'll think she can refurb a house for £10k
which is total bollocks
Sorry for typos, now have to do school run. I shall be back!
I am 69 and am not elderly! We moved here to be near our dd and we cose a house that needed very little done. Surely she isn't contemplating moving in Winter with no central heating. Have you time to find a suitable alternative? Maybe look for a detached bungalow for her.
Have you looked at assisted living / retirement complexes? Having a site manager to take care of minor repairs etc would take a load of you.
YANBU. Agree with other posters that she is not terribly elderly, but she is acting as though she is and it will only get worse in time, particularly when you are only a short distance away.
Put your foot down with DH and BIL or you will end up spending all your time sorting this out for her. Find a rental property and suggest that to her, tell all that it is not reasonable to move in somewhere with no central heating in the middle of winter. Storage heaters eat up ££s, I rented somewhere with them back in the 90s and paid out up to £100 a week to heat the place.
Some people do behave as if they are elderly when they're in their 60's. my mil is like that. She was early 60s when I first met her, she was definitely old before her time and more dependant than my Nan who is 25 years older than her. No physical or mental issues, she just likes playing at being elderly.
My mum is mid 60s and gallivants around Europe visiting family, not all 60+ people are like this though and some can appear more frail and older than their years. I suspect the mil of the op comes across as being like this because she seems quite weak and lost at the moment.
Will it kill her to wear jumpers while the central heating is installed? No. Can you take the cat for a while? I would presume so. I think the major point is the fact that its further out of town and she will not be 67 forever. Is there a bus route or anything? Maybe sit down with her and explain you're worried her independence will suffer long term.
Is it at all an option for her to stay with you a while so she doesn't feel rushed into buying somewhere and can still sell? I don't think you are being unreasonable but I'm not sure how much you can do if your dh and bil don't agree.
getting all the work done will be a big job
do your dh and bil think she is up to organising builders etc? my mik, who sounds similar, hates doing this
I think you need to be careful about continuing this tradition of treating her as though she is elderly and can't do stuff for herself. Some people like it that way as they can push responsibility onto others. It doesn't mean she couldn't cope with these things on her own, just that she doesn't want to.
Perhaps you should back off a bit.
I agree the shock loss of FIL will have taken a lot out of her, but sometimes the apparently less capable less dominant partner can bloom when they are free to exercise their own opinions.
You are concerned she won't cope and of course if DH and BIL are not around to sort things out if she flounders, no prizes for who will be called upon to step up. I am glad you have voiced your concerns so her sons know you have severe misgivings.
I read this wondering if she might be persuaded to rent an unfurnished place to get the lie of the land and see how she likes the area. I see now that she has rejected this idea. I would pester the other agents in the area to death to try and find a house closer to town which is in better nick. Even try pushing leaflets through doors, "Seeking a home like yours, have you considered selling?"
We "sold" our flat in a short chain (three properties in total) in October 2010, and didn't move until February 2011. Council offices and conveyancing solicitors don't seem to work in December so all the professionals involved thought things had gone very smoothly. I went from 15-32 weeks pregnant in that time so I thought it took ages!!
I agree with pps that spelling out exactly what would be required, including disruption for the poor cat, and saying what you wouldn't be able to help with, will at least set out your stall, without being too obstructive. And in the meantime set up alerts on Rightmove so you don't miss out on anything else that comes on the market.
I have alerts on right move and am registered with all local agents who call me before they even get onto rightmove. I haven't done a leaflet drop, I could do that. I think though I've lost sight of what will be acceptable to her. Her criteria was modern detached three bed house. This property is a two bed semi bungalow requiring work. I know she is entitled to compromise on her wish list but this is so far removed from the original spec.
I am concerned that she won't cope and in turn that it will fall to me to deal with it. I think she hears my reservations as me not wanting her to move up here and trying to frustrate the move. And yes, I do find her difficult at times but I genuinely want it to be a positive and successful move for her.
pukingcat yep I could back off, not sure how that would help any of us in these particular circumstances but I get your point about enabling her behaviour.
FoxyRoxy my mum is the same as yours, yet I would still try very hard to dissuade her from such a decision. Thing is, with her independence I don't think she would have made it anyway because she would acknowledge that it wasn't a good call. She could live with us whilst looking for somewhere else but I don't think she wants to. Perhaps we do need to clarify that the option is there though. I can see what the objection will be now though, her cat!
oscarwilde yes we've considered assisted living/supported places but they generally come without private gardens and her garden is very important to her. She also doesn't see herself in the category that needs such a place and I think questions the need when we will be so close.....
mercibucket no she won't be able to project manage the work. (She asked us to find her a local taxi company not long ago despite her having a thompson directory/yellow pages!) That will fall to us. Luckily we know a good builder and as soon as the survey is through (and like a poster above said I hope it is shocking!) we will walk through the place with him and ask him to properly quote. He has already given us a ballpark quote and idea of the level of disruption.
A couple of people have mentioned money. She will comfortably clear a £100K from the difference in prices so the cost of renovations isn't an issue which is one comfort.
Perhaps I just need to let her/them get on with it. I've voiced my concerns and they don't think that they are issues. Maybe all I need to do now is work out how far I go to deal with the consequences of their decision. I am more that a bit pissed off though that DH doesn't give more weight to my concerns than he has done so far.
if you have a good builder lined up, i would just back off and leave her to it. you have warned her, she might be prepared or she migh5 not, but the work will eventually be finished
i wonder if by playing the 'bad guy', your dh, bil and mil are pushing against that. if you stop raising objections, they might start voicing their own doubts
True. And playing the bad guy means that they're all concentrating on my reasons for saying things, rather than what I'm actually saying.
Well apart from the fact that it needs work, a 2bed bungalow rather than a three bed detached for one person sounds sensible tbh.
The problem might be where she is whilst the work is done if it all goes ahead.
Perhaps you could look at what you could realistically do, and what others will have to do, rather than you doing nothing to prove a point iyswim.
DH will think he'll sort things out at weekends, and good old DW will be free at a moment's notice to take charge Mon - Fri. BIL will think lucky old DBro and SIL, Mum only round the corner, instant free babysitting.
If I were you I'd develop pastimes now with or without your DCs that will lessen your availability during the week. Big difference imo between DIL glad to see MIL for occasional coffee and catch up with GDCs and trip to the shops or garden centre now and then, and you having to run around in lieu of DH doing a million and one chores.
Diddl- sensible apart from the fact it needs work including the not so small task of installing central heating and is almost double the distance from the town centre she said she wanted. The comments now that it is a "little further out than ideal" will soon become "it's too far for me to walk" I'm sure. It's not far from a good bus route but she's said she doesn't want to / won't do buses. She is used to being driven around. She doesn't understand bus timetables and will not try (believe me we have tried to explain trains to her). And whereas you or I might stand at the stop and wait for one to turn up she would not contemplate that.
Donkeys- exactly. I have fingers in lots of pies outside of looking after the children and they have busy little lives as well so actually there won't be masses of time for me to do all the extras I imagine will come my way. Just wish they could see my point that none of this needs to be an issue if we found a property that was in a better location and needed far less work done - like she originally told us she wanted!!!
List all the jobs - putting in central heating, redecorating etc and get your DH to tell mil and BIL that that is too much for you to organise and that you would prefer her to have something in good order and modern.
Perhaps she has panicked a little, then?
Central heating won't be a big job in itself though?
So it's the distance as much as anything?
Can she afford taxis?
Does she know that you can't ferry her about & does your husband know that you'll be wanting to see him at weekends & that you won't want him to always be on taxi duty?
Look on her her behalf for nicer options
We dissuaded my FIL from buying a flat he very much wanted - because it was too far from shops, etc, and we could see that when he gave up his car (realistically, in not many more years) it would be very difficult for him.
He is soooo grateful now that we persuaded him to move in with us for a bit and wait for a good flat in a more useful location to come up.
Could you cope with her living with you for a bit? So that she could look properly, not in a panic stricken 'I'm only here for a day, must choose something now' sort of way? The sale of her house could go ahead.
I like the posters who have said that you can state what you will do, rather than what you will not.
So say if you are prepared to drive MIL to shops once a week, then that means she knows she will have to get her head round public transport, or walk the distance. Be very firm on this, that way if she does move in and it proves tricky then you won't be the bad guy then.
It's not far from a good bus route but she's said she doesn't want to / won't do buses. She is used to being driven around.
Then she'd better learn to drive, hadn't she?
Thought I'd update as was grateful for good advice earlier. The perfect house has come on the market today. Great location, better street, modernised inside, new kitchen, bathroom, conservatory, central heating (!). So much better in so many ways. Only negative I can see is that the garden is about half the size but its a blank canvas...
I'm viewing it tomorrow. In the meantime the full survey is booked for the
shithole other property I was not so keen on, solicitors are instructed etc etc.
Now I need to persuade MIL and to a lesser extent DH that this is the one to pursue. Wish me luck......
Ooh fingers crossed.
Might be an idea to be ever so slightly casual about it, if it does turn out to be suitable.
Thank you. Yes I'm trying hard to keep low key and casual. Hard for me as I wear my heart in my sleeve but keeping sight of end goal!
I think that you need to get her on public transport.
When she moves, tell her that you will take her into town one day. BUT, turn up without your car (get a taxi there?), then take her on the bus.
The idea of 'not doing buses' is ludicrous, especially in a single person who does not drive.
Can you get the estate agent to call her directly?
By the sounds of it you're setting yourself up for a nightmare. If she can't even open her own post and expects to be driven round everywhere, have you thought about how dependant she might be on you now you'll be much closer?
One of the benefits of this latest property is that she wont need to
get buses. It is literally minutes away from the centre. So I won't need to have that battle
I can get the agent to call her directly but I want to see it first just to check that it is right that we push her towards this one instead of the other one. They're on with different agents so that helps.
Strumpeton, yes we've considered that. But balanced against her living in a big family house, in an isolated village, two and a half hours away, having no family near, we really do think that having her closer is the best thing. Both for her and for us. We will need to carefully manage how she makes demands on our time when she is closer but I feel better doing that knowing she is closer and in a home that is better suited to her.
Well OP I for one think you're lovely having everyone's interests at heart and you sound like a nice DIL.
There's no way on god's green earth I'd be opening a fully capable adult's mail for them
this may make me a cow but ay well
My 69 yr old uncle is far, far more elderly than my 82 yr old father. Uncle is also very keen on others to run around after him. He has managed to create a crisis and is now in hospital. It has been horrific.
You need to get cast iron, concrete, reinforced boundaries in place and stick to them.
I would also suggest that you make all the project management your DH's problem. That way he can appreciate the pain.
She sounds a lot like my DM and I really feel for you but I think you are going to have to let her make her own mistakes. You are in a lose-lose situation because, if you do succeed in persuading her not to choose this house, I can guarantee that you will never hear the end of it: wherever she ends up - even if much more suitable - will be compared unfavourably with this place.
One thought though: is there anyone outside the family that she listens to? My DM blithely ignores the carefully reasoned advice of her loving relatives but will randomly change her mind on the advice of her hairdresser/the nice lady in M&S/the AA man.
Nice of you to say Strumpetron but I find her difficult, manipulating and demanding (at times!) so having her close & in a good location and property very much works in my favour as well
AnyoneforTurps, yes generally she'd listen to advice from any Tom dick or Betty rather than me. Good thinking. Wonder if I could get an article in the Daily Fail that this second property was the better one. She'd certainly believe it then!
LisaMed, yes already drawing up my boundaries. Hope everything is ok with you. Sounds difficult. Can certainly relate to dramas being created from seemingly very little. I think it's the lack of interest in anything else. Easy to become detached from reality then.
We have storage heaters and work fine if you know how to use them properly. I do think if nothing in bathroom/kitchen and hall it will get very chilly however. We are the only house in the street that doesn't have gas. Although since moving in a few months ago we got gas put to the house. It cost £750 to go from the street to house. Next is the meter and then waiting on a quote for gas boiler and radiators to go in. So if she has the money to spare - it can be sorted.
The walking distance to town is prob going to end up being a pain as she gets older though.
I take it she is downsizing and will have funds to decorate?
How did the other house viewing go OP?
The OP is a lovely Dil to care so.
There is a generation of women in this age group who have been totally disempowered by good,caring,husbands ,who have not allowed them to make any decisions for themselves,or indeed make any mistakes.
They are very afraid of change and do seem pathetic to the independent.Using a bus ,for instance, is huge if you have always been driven.
The canaries in golden cages!
Checking in to see how you got on. You could use the nicer property as a handy example of "what could be done with the first property". Show her the brochure, or even suggest popping over next time she's visiting. Make a list, double glazing/heating, conservatory, "brings the garden into the home for all-year round enjoyment, and smaller garden to worry over upkeep". Surely it would dawn on her, here it all is, available and closer to town.
It may well be that you're thinking of having her to stay over Christmas, whatever her long term plans. If she's round you can introduce her to the bus system.
Ooh Donkeys that's so clever it might just work...
How's the different property OP and have you 'sold' it to DH or MiL yet?
I can sympathise... MiL recently moved closer to us - I was regularly doing searches for her and sending her possible details. The 'easiest' house was easy walking distance from our house - good bus route, near facilities etc - nice sized south facing garden, detached, 3 bed, own garage - 1930s with big windows. She told me it was horrid (this is a style like our house) and that the garden was too small. She decided on a 2 bed cottage instead - the garden was 20% smaller than the 'too small' one - and she needed to have an extension to get enough room (which I sorted out for her) and recently commented on the fact that she wasn't going to have a big garden left (you don't say!). However, when I dared suggest that she might put up with the existing (perfectly reasonable but wrong colour scheme) carpet for a while until all the building works (through which she has to trail every time she goes in or out) were completed and she could use the front door again I was told I was being unreasonable, interfering and I couldn't tell her what to do.
So I have kept out of it all since then and barely put my foot inside her door...
I think the secret might be to make her think that the other house is all her own idea.
Can you print it out, amid a few other properties that are clearly too small/all wrong and hand it to her? Tell her that you were just about to throw these details away but thought that she should have a look through, just in case you have missed anything...
Just sweeping through Threads I'm On and found this one... were you able to get her to have a look at the new house OP?
Any update on the house buying situation Odfod?
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