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Help me find the best solution(12 Posts)
I am looking for the best housing solution and feel too close to the situation to come up with the best answer. (sorry its long!)
To give you all the details.
My mum in her 70's lives alone in a 3 bed 1970's house, no mortgage, reasonable pension, no specific illnesses. She has had the house for 35 years and her house is in a town of around 20k people. I was bought up there.
I live in a big town around 10 miles away in a bigger town (120k people) in a 2 bed 1950's house. I have a mortgage. I have one small child and normally work in London. I chose this town rather than my mothers town as the trains were quicker and more frequent. I have recently split from my husband of 2.5 years. I owned the house prior to knowing him and the mortgage and deeds are in my name. The discussion isnt about how much he will get when we divorce.
Mum and I have always talked about eventually living next to each other/pooling our resources so I can look after her as she gets older and now I have a child she can help out when she can.
I moved to hers when I left my husband as I had to leave suddenly and it confirmed to both of us that we definitely need our own space.
We then looked online at properties with annexes but it always seems that the annex is very pokey. It also seems that doubling your budget does not get you double the house
My mum suggested I build an annex on the end of my 2 bed end of terrace but again I think it would be too small for her if we could get permission and I cannot park outside my house so it would be street parking which she hates. Although she is willing to downsize my gut feeling is she would want a decent size 2 bedroom.
I feel like the only solution is that one of us move to be next to/very close to the other one.
For me I really love the town I was bought up in and loved staying there recently rather than where I live. Corona has meant I am unikely to have to travel into london 5 days a week and the trains have actually improved a lot. The downside is the local primary to my mum is in special measures at the moment but it has a few years to improve. Her town is more expensive so it would be a stretch but a neighbour is thinking of moving in the next couple of years back to near his family and the house is opposite my mums.
Alternatively she could move here. My town has a lot better public transport and facilities and I am nearer the town but it is 'rougher'. I love my house and how solid it is (I really noticed how thin my mums walls were) but am not so in love with the town.
Is the best solution for me to try and move there or can anyone think of any better solutions?
Is she willing to entertain selling and moving? If so then as she ages better train links and facilities would be a benefit as would better schooling for your child. I’d not consider moving some place where my child’s potential school was in special measures.
If she is not, and I suspect she is due to her being willing to live in an Annexe then I think her selling and moving to you is the best option
I also wouldn’t move somewhere with poor schools.
Could you find another town that you both like and is commutable?
An large annex is difficult to achieve unless you have a massive house or a massive plot to build it on. It could also cause problems if she wants to move again or money is needed to pay for her care but tied up in a property that you jointly own.
So I do think the best solution would be to move somewhere commutable, with good schools and where you can get properties close to each other.
I should have mentioned although our local school is not in special measures it 'needs improvement' so its hardly good schooling.
Other towns are mor expensive and we dont have any links there, both of us want to stick to prefereably her town but mine would do.
She says she is open to the idea of an annex but everything I have shown her has been dismissed as too small.
I almost feel we need a kirsty and Phil!
Are you both just hesitant to co this and that’s the issue? Neither of you really want to move? Because clearly this is easily solveable. The fact you’re both struggling with something so simple indicates neither of you really wish to.
Bear in mind that if you both move you'll lose a fair chunk in estate agent/solicitors/stamp duty/removal fees. It would be more efficient all round if just one of you moved.
If your mum's town is 20k people there must be other schools.
Look on rightmove at the best houses you can buy with your mum's budget in your neck of the woods, and the best house you could buy in her town near a decent school, and then make the call.
Buy a house in your Mum's town but in catchment for a better school if you can. You will still be living near each other but not literally on top of each other (which could get stifling after a while). You write as though you are going to have this extremely close relationship with your Mum forever, but what if you meet someone else and your life goes off in a slightly different direction?
Are you an only child, and your Mum's sole heir? You could buy a big 4-bedroom house between you and divide it internally into two flats, but share the garden and driveway. Then when you inherit, convert it back to one house.
But if you have only recently split from your ex, I'd suggest you wait a couple of years, to be sure this is what you want.
@FlamedToACrisp has a great Solution
On reading your post I am not sure what your valuing the most and I think that makes the decision more difficult - you need to list in black and white your criteria from most important to least important - that should at least help you see the wood for the trees
Personally I think schooling needs to be no 1 and then living within say 10 or 15 minutes of each other (unless you want to walk and then adjust criteria to be within 5 minute walk, or whatever it is that you want)
And then I think it important to really question the “she really needs two bedroom” narrative - why ? Most spare bedrooms just end up being expensive store rooms. What does she really truly need rather than want. You will have to comprise so focusing on need rather than want is helpful
You need to play the what if game. It's not a nice thought but if your mum's in her seventies what if she dies/needs to move into a care home in the next few years, would you regret a move?
To me it sounds like you are both happy with your current homes and neither of you want to move. Maybe leave it a few years see what happens with school ratings, house prices, etc. Maybe consider that the money spend on moving house could go towards transport, childcare or home help?
Does your mum have friends and community? If she moves away is she the sort of person to make new friends quickly? You don’t want to find yourself in 10 years time as the sole friend of an elderly lady who can’t drive and may be very frail. And I’m sure she wouldn’t want that either. Right now you can both drive the 10 miles but in the not too distant future she may be close to housebound. Make sure she has friends wherever she moves to.
If you buy a house together, just be careful in a few years that she doesn’t have to go into a care home and that you would have to sell the joint house you have to pay for it.