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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.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 16-Oct-13 18:42:24

No, don't do it.

MrPricklepants Wed 16-Oct-13 18:43:53

I wouldn't either. How is it an investment for them when it is your home, what about when they need the money? They'll either ask you to sell your much loved home so they can have their money back or they'll try to move in when they're older. What about when you want to make a home improvement they disagree with.
It's not fair on your DH's siblings either and you don't want to cause a family rift over something like this.
Finally your MIL is crying on the phone because you don't want this offer, how ridiculous!

FlapJackOLantern Wed 16-Oct-13 18:44:51

If you DID do it, and anything happened to your ILs, your DHs sibling could possibly force you to sell your home to get their share of ILs estate. Don't do it !!

2rebecca Wed 16-Oct-13 18:47:40

Another no from me, mainly because she started being emotionally manipulative when you said no.
If she is really doing you a favour then why would she be upset because you prefer to be financially independent? Why is this something for her to cry about?
If I feel someone is ungrateful (and my teenagers often are) it doesn't make me cry hysterically, it just makes me a bit pissed off.
She obviously has another agenda here to be that upset about it.
I would tell your husband that you definitely don't want her getting involved in your house if she gets that emotionally overwrought and controlling about the issue.

ArtexMonkey Wed 16-Oct-13 18:55:55

Ugh no.

Never mind when they die, what if they require long term care? You could be faced with being obliged either to let them move in and becoming their carer, or sell up to pay care fees.

DO NOT DO THIS. Your life won't be your own hereafter, and mil has already been very unreasonable phoning up crying and trying to change your dh's mind.

MrTumblesKnickers Wed 16-Oct-13 18:56:46

"If she is really doing you a favour then why would she be upset because you prefer to be financially independent? Why is this something for her to cry about?"

Yeah, this. Does she have some ulterior motive you're not aware of, perhaps? And why are they keen to sell their flat, have they worked out the finances there - ie, how much they'll get from that vs how much they'd get from your future sale.

And what if you don't want to sell your London home for some time? Like, decades? What are they expecting to actually get out of this investment? This is an investment that doesn't really make sense.

missinglalaland Wed 16-Oct-13 19:02:54

Don't do it. Terrible idea. Your instincts are right.

EndoplasmicReticulum Wed 16-Oct-13 19:23:39

Don't do it. Even if they were the nicest in-laws in the world. The "crying on the phone" bit raises massive red flags already.

They might be thinking "if we own part of their house we can move in when we get old/infirm and they will look after us".

And when they decide that they want to pop in an visit you in their your house whenever they feel like it and it is hard for you to say no, how happy will you be then.

Slipshodsibyl Wed 16-Oct-13 19:37:46

The inequitable treatment of siblings is the hung that will really cause family problems down the line. I think it would be reasonable to point this out. if they want to help here are other ways. And if she says the siblings won't mind , don't listen.

Slipshodsibyl Wed 16-Oct-13 19:38:09

Thing not hung.

Merel Wed 16-Oct-13 19:41:58

I know of a case where the in laws offered to allow a child and their partner to build their house on their land. The parents are quite old now and the family has been torn apart arguing about what happens after they have died. The other two siblings want their share, but the one living on the parent's land cannot afford to buy everyone out. I would be very reluctant to put myself in this kind of situation.

NotYoMomma Wed 16-Oct-13 19:49:30


what if in future you and dh split up. you wont gethalf theproperty and hepays his parents back, they will get their bit, then youand dh split the rest. they will then no doubt let dh live in one of their other properties.

no. way.

ohfourfoxache Wed 16-Oct-13 19:52:09


Oops - sorry - did I mention NO

zoobaby Wed 16-Oct-13 19:57:18

You could graciously accept the offer of help with school fees (with absolute final decision being yours) but I don't really see that the house thing is workable. As someone else said, the "investment" they'd be making doesn't make sense.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Wed 16-Oct-13 20:04:43

My parents have done this with my brother. It's worked pretty well and meant that he could buy a flat at 22 rather than the 32 it probably would have been otherwise.

As the only sister I'm not at all bothered but I'm older so by the time it was going on I already owned (with a massive mortgage!) a much bigger house with dh. A few friends did express surprise that I was so laid back about it.

They did it all legally with separate solicitors etc got a "parent and child" mortgage which some building societies do. Db paid all the legal fees and all maintenance costs but no rent I think.

So I was reading your message thinking "should be fine - go for it!" until you got to the tears. Now I'm saying"run for your life!" You need the right type of parents for this type of scheme - your dh doesn't have them!

claudedebussy Wed 16-Oct-13 20:06:40

bad idea. sounds to me like the money will come with big fucking ferry chains attached, never mind strings.

and the fact she's crying on the phone laying on the guilt makes it even more of a red flag.

IHaveA Wed 16-Oct-13 20:09:21

I wouldn't do this in a million years.

Maybe it would be OK if your In Laws are well off and want to give you a gift of cash but I would only accept it if it was given equally to all siblings and with a note confirming it was a gift. It's not a bad idea for parents to gift their children money while they are still alive - it's much better than the money being lost to inheritance tax.

It only counts as gift if the person making the gift has no interest or control in the gift so a note is a good idea.

I would also be wary of the in laws paying for any private schooling. You need to be 100 % clear of what everyone's expectations are. I would try and do this in an almost 'formal' way. I would sit down with everyone and discuss everything at length. I would then write everything up and distribute the 'agreement'. It's the type of thing that sounds very OTT but I bet their are loads of people who wish they had done it. IMHO it would show the in laws that you are treating any proposed gift with the reverence it deserves.

CanucksoontobeinLondon Wed 16-Oct-13 20:09:26

Thanks for your replies, everybody. I’ve just skimmed a few, while taking a quick Mumsnet break.

OK, so, update. DH phoned FIL direct, bypassing MIL entirely. FIL is not particularly upset about us rejecting their offer, and is sure MIL will get over it once she’s has a chance to calm down. He says give it a few days and he (FIL) will talk to her again, see how she’s feeling about it then. She does frequently get emotional about things. DH also pointed out that SIL and BIL might feel resentful if only we get this opportunity and they don’t. (SIL and BIL already, half-jokingly, refer to DH as the chosen one because he’s the only one who had kids) FIL had not considered that aspect of things, and said he would definitely consider it.

FIL also pointed out that DH’s email rejecting the offer could’ve been more tactfully worded, and he probably should’ve phoned instead of emailed. Which is entirely reasonable. FIL also said they want to sell this particular rental property and put the money somewhere else because they’ve had nothing but troublesome tenants there. DH suggested they may want to either put the proceeds into a different property, or invest the money some other way.

I don’t think MIL means to be manipulative. She’s just a very emotional person, cries at sad movies, cries when she sees a squirrel run over by a car, that kind of thing. It’s not totally unheard of for her to call us up in floods of tears over some small thing, but DH hates it anyway. She is, after all, in genuine distress, even if what causes her distress would mostly be shrugged off by tougher people. And she’s a very generous person, does volunteer work, is kind to animals, etc. etc. I don’t want to paint her as some kind of monster just because I’m currently unhappy with her.

To the poster who pointed out that of course my FIL and MIL will feel proprietary when they’re paying the school fees, and perfectly reasonably, you’re absolutely right, and I need to remember that. It’s just that the logistics are getting a little complicated, trying to get 4 adults to agree on a suitable school, and then have the school actually accept the child. Plus, MIL is in denial about DS’s ASD, thinks he’s just a little quirky and will grow out of it. So when we rejected Ibstock Place out of hand because according to Mumsnet they make zero provision for special needs, MIL got a little huffy, which made DH and me a little huffy. DH and I agree that MIL will probably change her tune on the diagnosis once she’s seeing DS on a regular basis.

Slipshodsibyl Wed 16-Oct-13 20:22:53

Your children's school fees are being paid and you are being offered money towards a house. The siblings are as yet childless. That is likely to change. Do your pil have a very large fund? You know the joke about DH being the chosen one? Well it is not a joke. And that your fil had not even considered that when your DH mentioned it makes it worse.

TheBigJessie Wed 16-Oct-13 21:21:08

I'm quite willing to believe your MIL is not being calculating with the emotional manipulation. Most people who do it aren't- they think they are merely sticking up for themselves.

The non-deliberateness just makes it harder to deal with on the other end, if anything, because the person on the other end doesn't get what your problem is!

If you want to continue to be able to view her with a kind eye, don't make this deal!

Beastofburden Wed 16-Oct-13 21:22:09

I would say a couple of things.

I suspect that for your MIL it is a big, big deal that her son, and you, and her only grandchildren are coming back to the country she lives in. I would guess the tears are about wanting to build a relationship there, and feeling that her generosity was turned down, not so much about direct manipulation. So I would focus on this. Make her feel loved and included and tell her quietly that you were just so worried that the sibs would resent you, and you really don't want things to get difficult.

Your Dh was a total and complete klutz to email and not to take his parents out to dinner if he was in the country, or ring them and send flowers if he was abroad, when he wanted to say no. Sorry, he just was. That was bad.

On school, I had GP pay for DS1. I didn't even consult them on the choice of school, but we did make sure they knew how well he was doing and what a great school it was. I also made sure DS1 knew it was his GFs hardearned cash that had sent him there, and made him respect that by working. The GP were totally happy with the odd school report and magazine.

The thing is, why do we work hard and save our cash? It's to help our kids in the future. And we probably dream of grandchildren. S when that all happens, and we have all that pent up cash and goodwill to give, we get very frustrated when to turned down. Perhaps as I am nearer in age to MIL than the rest of you, I don't see this as control freakery, but as a not very well thought through wish to contribute.

If you find your MIl another way t contribute, I think the money stuff will subside.

Xales Wed 16-Oct-13 21:27:35

You know the joke about DH being the chosen one? Well it is not a joke. And that your fil had not even considered that when your DH mentioned it makes it worse. I agree with this.

If they want to help you then perhaps selling the property and splitting it between all siblings to help with mortgages is better than giving it all to one.

Littlegreyauditor Wed 16-Oct-13 21:35:08

Good. God. No.

There are so many strings attached to this ostensibly kind offer that you will end up dancing like a puppet. Run. Run. Run.

ColderThanAWitchsTitty Wed 16-Oct-13 21:35:51

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.

^ this means stay well away

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