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Consolidating Households

May 7th, 2005, 12:32 PM
Long story short - my parents worked hard, raised a family, but didn't plan well for their retirement. 14yrs ago hubby and I talked it over and bought a home near us with the eventual plan to consolidate households when my mom no longer should live alone. (Pop was 10yrs older than Mom.) We feel that time is now. Pop passed away almost 5yrs ago, Mom is lonely at night, a bit fearful living alone, and it's hard to work and spend our evenings over there. We're neglecting our own home. Our home is only 1278 sq. ft., too small. Mom's is larger - 1650 sq. ft. - still too small for 3 adults who are all collectors and have hobbies. We've decided to sell both houses and buy one larger one about 2500 sq. ft. That way, we won't be pinched for space and we can decide together how to arrange furniture, the kitchen, etc. We will all have to get rid of a lot of stuff and I'm glad we're doing this while Mom is able to decide what she doesn't need. Our plan is this: List our house first. Rent a storage unit and put everything we want to keep in it except major furniture that should remain for the "showing" to prospective buyers. Every morning, I will take Den-Den to Mom's so I won't have to worry about him getting out when people come in. As soon as our house sells, we'll move everything into the storage unit and Mom's excess stuff so that her home can then be listed. She'll still be able to come to our place with the dogs when hers is being shown.
Once hers sells and we know how much we'll have, we'll have to quickly find a suitable home for ourselves. We are commutable to San Francisco and there is a huge demand for homes in our area. We can't make any kind of an offer until our homes sell first. Hopefully, we'll be able to buy our new home without a mortgage. This is important as our own retirement will be coming in the next few years.
Sorry for this long post! We signed the listing agreements yesterday and rented a 20x40' storage unit - more than enough space for two households. Anyone have any suggestions I'm not thinking of?

Cactus Flower
May 7th, 2005, 01:07 PM
Yes, GlassLass, I have a suggestion: Give yourself a big hug from me and a hearty pat on the back!

Bless your heart for wanting to take care of her, and going through so much to do so. You are a wonderful daughter!

My Mom lost her husband about a year ago, and recently moved down to live with me. Afterwards, she kept saying "you need your space", and I kept telling her no I did not! I realized finally that she was saying "I need MY space". She ended up buying the house next door and the land beneath our feet- she is literally a few steps away from my place, and we are the only two houses on this property.
SO, as much as she needs you, she might feel at some point in time that she has lost some of her "independence", and so often self-esteem can be attached to that. Once you are all moved in together, I would go out of my way to make her feel NEEDED, "what would we do without you".....maybe give her specific responsibilites in the family. That was hard for me when my Mom was here because I just wanted to TAKE CARE OF HER, I didn't want her to have to worry about a THING for once in her life. No bills, no responsibilities, etc. Turns out that didn't feel so great to her, after all. It made her feel "useless". She is used to being the careGIVER, you see.
If you are able to find a place with a semi-seperated area ("mother-in-law quarters?) or a big family room that can be converted into a space just for her, I'd recommend that also. Mom and I searched for such a place, but couldn't find one. She wanted an area to call her own, to put up her own decorations and pictures, etc. Me telling her to go right ahead and put them anywhere she wants in my house wasn't the same. Anyway, it all turned out well since she bought the house next door.

Good luck with this huge endeavor, GlassLass, and again- big hug from me!

May 7th, 2005, 01:37 PM
Glasslass... just wanted to wish you good luck with this big change in your lives. It's a very wonderful thing you are doing for your mom, :grouphug: and Cactus Flower has given you some really sound advice.

My mom moved in with us when she was no longer doing well in her apartment on her own.She was suffering dementia, and the anxiety and confusion that go with it. Though this required my careful supervision, she naturally and normally resented this. All her life, she'd been in control of managing things for herself. Eventually her needs became too great, she now resides in a nursing home.
But the impact of not having a seperate area for enough personal space and privacy is really felt by all. If you can find a home that offers a "seperation" of some type to provide this - ideal.

Are you able to look at houses to buy now, based on approx. assessed home values - with a "pending sale of home" type clause? Not sure if there is such a thing now.
I cant think of any other suggestions at the moment,moving is always exciting,but stressful too, so much to consider. Hope all goes nice and smoothly for you, my best wishes on this!

May 7th, 2005, 03:57 PM
Thanks Cactus Flower! I knew your mom had moved there but didn't know the details. We've talked about consolidating over the last 14 years. Actually, when we bought her present house, it was almost the house next door to us! We approached the owner who was renting it out and he gave us the price which we were willing to pay. We started feeling uneasy during escrow because we hadn't seen the appraisal yet. Two weeks before it closed, I started looking around and found a larger, brand new house a short distance away with a fireplace in the master bedroom and jacuzzi, etc., all for the same amount as the one we were trying to buy. 6 days before close of escrow, we finally got to see the appraisal and it was far less. That was our opportunity to back out and the next day we bought the new house. It was a good move because it'll now sell for about $100k more. We've decided against separate mother-in-law quarters because we feel that there would be too much wasted space used for a probably smaller kitchen and bathroom in it. We'd rather have a large "great room" and very open floorplan. We need 4 bedrooms (Mom, Us, Guest, and Computer/Den). Mom will have her bedroom as well as the guest room all for herself. We'll all share the computer room although with wireless networking, we can still all have a computer in our own spaces. The only requirement my hubby has voiced is a 3-car garage. We've talked about having a "signal" that we need a little space if the need arises and no questions asked, we're to respect it both ways. I think we've gotten used to being all together and I learned alot from having John (a friend who died a couple years ago) live with us 6 years about the issues that can come up. We're already talking about how we'll combine the furnishing. My mom inherited some really beautiful carved oriental pieces from her father. I've always known I'll inherit it someday and I love it. My tastes are already developed along the same lines and the only furniture I'm really attached to is my bedroom set, so no problem. We bought a dining room set together that we both fell in love with that she has been using. You get the picture. We've been planning this for years!
Shamrock, usually you can buy with a contingency of selling your house, but not in this area. Because of the commuters to the bay area, prices in this area are going up 20% a year! Even though our house won't list publically for a month to give us time to prep it and put stuff in storage, our agent says she has already had 2 inquiries about it from other agents within their own network - in just 24 hrs! But they can see it in their system as pending. Houses go into a bidding war and sell for more than than they are listed. Because the housing market here is so crazy, there are buyers just for investments. The same house in the bay area would be 3 times the money. It's crazy! And interest rates going up so there is more of a frenzy to buy before they do. Sad for the locals here because they are being priced out of the market - wages here are not as high as the bay area. Fortunately, that's for houses at the median range. The range we'll be looking in is slightly slower, but they won't take an offer with a contingency. We can however, as a seller, specify the sale is contingent to our finding a suitable house to move into. So we won't be homeless. They actually have homes that have 2 master bedrooms. Ideally, that is what we'd like. And it must be single level - no stairs. Hubby has a bad knee. No pool for pets to fall into.

May 8th, 2005, 09:28 AM
When my MIL passed away 15 years ago Hubby and I decided that his Dad should move in with us but the house we were in at the time was way too small. We managed to find a house that has a "in-law suite" ... he has his own bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, living room ... completely self-contained, basically 1 bedroom apartment. He totally has his own space as do we. Our only regret is that the 'apartment' is in the basement :rolleyes: My FIL is now 84 yo and still fairly healthy .. he cooks his own meals and takes care of his own space. 5 years ago he was in a car accident and broke his hip so he no longer drives .. Hubby takes him wherever he needs to go ... like to church this morning ;)
Anyways, my suggestion to you would be to try to find something where your Mother can still have her independence yet be under the same roof as you. May be difficult to find, but I think it is becoming more popular these days. Try to find something that isn't in a basement or at least is a walk-out basement. Another regret we have is that we didn't get separate phone lines :mad: so now FIL answers the phone when we're not here but we don't always get messages :evil: We've subscribed to call-display so that at least we know who called!!
Good luck and I really hope everything works out well for you and your Family :grouphug:

May 9th, 2005, 05:29 AM
Thanks Rita! We've really thought about the idea of an in-law suite. Mom will be 80 this year. In a few short years, she could easily require more care than she does now. We want to be able to see and hear her if she should fall, etc. I'll be looking for a home with wider hallways, very open, in other words . . . wheelchair accessible. I learned alot when I broke my ankle, as well as the experiences we had with my Pop before he died. Her main problem right now is loneliness and feeling needed. Thanks for the information about the phone lines. Good idea! Mom doesn't hear well so I can see that becoming a problem. Fortunately, we will all have our own computers so we can use that as an excuse for the additional line! We have DSL and don't need a separate line for it, but she doesn't know that! :p We'll definitely keep separate lines! I can also point out to her that we can just call each other rather than hollaring if necessary when it's not convenient to go to the other area. How many times have I called hubby from the bedroom and he couldn't hear me in the livingroom!

Cactus Flower
May 9th, 2005, 12:59 PM
I didn't realize your Mom was all growed up :) . Considering her age, I do see your point in not having completely seperate quarters for her. I think it is wonderful that she is getting her own room, plus a guest room to consider "her own space".

The "signal" for needing a breather is also a great idea. You really do seem to have planned this very well, with everyone's best interest at heart.

Have I told you that I think you're terrific for doing this :thumbs up ?
Ok ok.......enough gushing :D .

May 9th, 2005, 02:40 PM
Glass you are an angel :angel: for doing this for your mom. I wish you the very best let us know how things are going. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Hey your fur babies will have grandma there with them I am sure they will be happy another human to spoil them. :D :grouphug: