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AIBU to want a say in this? Warning MIL related!

(70 Posts)
Odfod Thu 07-Nov-13 14:19:58

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?

Odfod Thu 07-Nov-13 14:20:21

Sorry not succinct, but at least I used paragraphs!

DameDeepRedBetty Thu 07-Nov-13 14:22:44

Has anyone considered suggesting she rent something for a while instead of buying?

Ifcatshadthumbs Thu 07-Nov-13 14:24:23

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?

LineRunner Thu 07-Nov-13 14:24:25

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.

coffeeinbed Thu 07-Nov-13 14:25:36

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.

PukingCat Thu 07-Nov-13 14:25:44

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.

dunnohowifeel Thu 07-Nov-13 14:27:19

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.

Odfod Thu 07-Nov-13 14:28:29

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?)

Gobbolinothewitchscat Thu 07-Nov-13 14:31:31

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

DameDeepRedBetty Thu 07-Nov-13 14:32:25

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.

hellsbellsmelons Thu 07-Nov-13 14:35:56

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!

Damnautocorrect Thu 07-Nov-13 14:37:54

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?

Odfod Thu 07-Nov-13 14:39:59

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" ?!?

Feminine Thu 07-Nov-13 14:40:18

op your MIL is not "elderly" btw!

MrsBungleScare Thu 07-Nov-13 14:40:52

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.

Feminine Thu 07-Nov-13 14:41:34

coffee I see you are also thinking the MIL is elderly!


WooWooOwl Thu 07-Nov-13 14:42:03

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.

Odfod Thu 07-Nov-13 14:42:05

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!

Wibblypiglikesbananas Thu 07-Nov-13 14:44:48

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?

phantomnamechanger Thu 07-Nov-13 14:46:03

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!)

WhatchaMaCalllit Thu 07-Nov-13 14:46:10

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?

starfishmummy Thu 07-Nov-13 14:46:59

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

MrTumblesKnickers Thu 07-Nov-13 14:49:35

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.

oscarwilde Thu 07-Nov-13 14:54:06

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.

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