I need help buying the house I grew up in. This property is the last remaining acreage of my paternal grandparents’ dairy farm that they started in the 1940s. It was once over 300 acres. Around the time my grandparents decided to downsize, my parents were married. My grandparents gifted them a small lot of land, about 6 acres.
My parents built their house – my childhood home – on the property in the late 1980s. I was only 4 when the house was built. Prior to this, my parents lived in an old trailer on the property.
It’s a lovely wooded parcel of land. I spent my days climbing trees, playing in the creek, just running wild thru the woods. My dad was an avid outdoorsman, so where he was, I was. It was always so apparent how much he loved the land. And I learned to love it too. He often spoke about the dairy farm he grew up on, and it was always so apparent how much it broke his heart that this was the remaining swath of land still belonging to the family.
Dad passed away at the end of May. (Here’s the obituary so you can see what a great guy he really was: https://bauerfuneral.com/viewObit.php?oID=2436) Some of my cousins from New York came to visit in mid-June. We were all at my sister, Jennifer’s, as my cousins were staying in the apartment above her garage.
At one point they went over to look at the neighbor’s house, which is for sale, and there was an open house. I didn’t think much about it… they’re the nosey type so I figured that was that.
Then next thing I know, Mom is talking about how great it would be to live there… starts talking about how she could sit on the back porch with Jennifer and drink wine, and how Jennifer’s kids could go over for sleepovers whenever they wanted, etc.
It really hurt me. A lot. I mean, Dad hadn’t even been buried for 3 weeks yet and here she was, talking about buying a house. Of course, everyone entertained her pipe dream, except me. I flat out told her I thought it was too soon.
It also brought up another conversation I had been wanting to have with her for AGES: Favoritism. For as long as I can remember, Jennifer has always been Mom’s favorite. I always thought it was just my perspective, but other people, my husband included, have pointed out how she really favors Jennifer over me… especially since my nephew was born (he’s 11).
So I told Mom how I felt and that I felt that if she moved, I’d get to see her even less than I do now. But she just changed the subject.
That was Saturday. My cousins left on Monday morning. I took the day off to go see them before they left. Jennifer asked if I’d stay with the kids for a few hours because she and Mom had some errands to run. So I stayed. It wasn’t really what I wanted to do, I had things to catch up on at my house, but I stayed and enjoyed some time with my nephew and niece.
Apparently, they went to the bank to talk about the house! I didn’t find out until TUESDAY when Jennifer sent me a text saying the neighbors didn’t accept their offer. I didn’t even know an offer had even been made! But whatever, offer declined. I didn’t think much more about it.
After that, Mom started to make a big push to get her house cleaned up. Dad had been a lifelong packrat. So Jennifer, her husband, my husband, and I have been going out to Mom’s on weekends to help her clean. And while I was there, Mom and I talked about different subcontractors I could get out to her house to fix up different things. I work for a general contractor so I have a good grasp on who is the best specialty contractor for each task. We talked about how the driveway needed new gravel. How the concrete on the front porch needed repointed. We talked about the patio she always wanted out back. She seemed to really like the idea of removing the old worn out carpet and replacing it with hardwood; something she had talked about for ages
Then one Sunday, Jennifer and I were in the one bedroom and she mentioned about wanting to clean out the one corner to stack boxes for “moving day” I asked her what she meant and when “moving day” was. Apparently, Mom is moving in August. They made a counteroffer on the neighbor’s house! And Jennifer just acted as if I should have known, etc.
I was so upset I couldn’t stay in there. So I went outside and sat on the side porch and just cried. Mom came out to show me something she found, and then asked me what was wrong.
I lost it. “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME YOU WERE MOVING?” And all she could say is “I’m sorry, I thought you knew.” How am I supposed to know anything if no one tells me?
So I told her how I felt like I had been played a fool. Here I am cleaning her house and talking to subcontractors to get it fixed up FOR HER. When in reality, she’s moving. I told her about how I’ve always felt she’s favored Jennifer. And how I feel like I can’t compete. How I feel like I’ll hardly see her when she moves. She’s currently 10 miles from me, and I rarely see her. When she moves, she’ll be 30 miles from me. I even told her how I’ve always felt that any grandchildren I could possibly give her wouldn’t be as special as Jennifer’s kids. And again, she kept apologizing saying she thought I knew about the move. She ended up changing the subject again, so I politely found a reason to walk away.
And to further complicate this situation, during one of the weekends of cleaning Mom mentioned my Gram would be moving in with her. Again, I thought into her current house. But no, she’s moving my 92 year-old grandma away from me too. My Gram is one of the biggest influences on my life and one of the few people who I’ve always felt accepted me for me.
It’s just all a bigger hit than I feel I can handle right now. I’m just feeling so hurt and betrayed by both Mom and Jennifer. The lies and the secrets just make it all even worse. I can’t help but feel like if it hadn’t been for me picking up on the “moving day” comment I might not have found out she moved until after it happened.
So I mentioned how Jennifer was always Mom’s favorite. Well, I have another older sister, Heather. She’s the oldest of the 3 of us. She never amounted to much in her life, but somehow she was always Dad’s favorite. She could do no wrong. Despite her not having a job in decades and taking no responsibility for her lot in life, Dad snuck $40,000 out of his joint account with Mom and bought a house for Heather about 2 years ago. Yes, you read that right. He secretly bought a house without my Mom knowing. She didn’t know until about a year ago.
Dad was also a procrastinator his whole life. My paternal grandparents passed away in 2003 & 2012. He was an only child, so their house and all of their property went to him. However, he never settled their estate, so everything is a mess. However, Heather is claiming that their house belongs to her, as per their wishes. We have no proof of this, but there are back taxes due on the property, so Mom is basically just giving her the property.
So if you stop and think about it… If Mom’s new house is next door to Jennifer, when Mom passes, it goes to reason she will leave that property to Jennifer to add on to their current lot.
So if you’re keeping score on who gets property:
Heather – 2
Jennifer – 1
Emily – 0
I’ve asked my mom to find a way to retain her current property so I can have it. I can’t say it enough, I simply adore that land. But she’s insistent she has to sell it so she can afford the new house next to Jennifer. So I feel like she’s choosing Jennifer over me in the most ultimate way.
I’m really at a loss. I need to find a way to purchase the property from Mom as I just feel in my bones… in my soul… that it needs to stay in the family.
So I started checking my options. My IRA took a HUGE hit due to the COVID crisis. I went from almost $50k to less than $5k in a matter of months. My husband and I have talked to the bank but we’re not sure what options they’ll come up with.
You see, the past few years have been financially hard for us. We’ve been married for 5 years. And in those 5 years:
June 2015: I was in car accident and had to get a new car, 2 months before our wedding.
July 2015: My husband was laid off his job the month before the wedding.
November 2015: My beloved dog, Max, was diagnosed with cancer and I had no choice but to face a staggering amount of vet bills to try to save him.
May 2016: My husband was laid off from another job.
May 2017 – January 2018: We had to go thru a horrible custody battle to get primary custody of my stepson because his mother was being downright neglectful.
May 2018: I was laid off and was unemployed for 2 months.
Current: My husband’s ex is refusing to pay her court ordered child support, so we’re getting buried in the expenses that come with raising a 14 year old boy. She’s currently over $3,000 behind in payment.
If you’re still reading, I sincerely appreciate it. I don’t know where else to turn. I’m just desperate to try anything to get the $96,000 to save my childhood home. I completely understand if I don’t receive all of the money, but any amount would be a big help. I normally turn to my family for support, but obviously they are the root of my problems as of late.
I sincerely hope you can help. I will be absolutely devastated if I can’t save my childhood home.