View Full Version : Am I crazy to even consider this? A little long...
08-16-2005, 08:40 AM
My parents are amazing, wonderful people who would do anything to help us out. At the same time they really, really do respect our boundaries. My mom keeps DS three days a week when I work, and after my father retires this fall/winter, he'll help take Alex to activities. They live five blocks away, and the only time they come over unannounced is b/c they found some great deal at Sams etc, and picked up staples (chicken breast etc) for us. Literally. They'll just put the stuff away and go. My husband brags he has the best inlaws for helpful while respectful. Having said that, we have been looking for a four bedroom house in our outrageously overpriced town. It's been a nightmare. Anything we like is so expensive that it may just make sense to add on to our current bungalow and make it a true two story. I just dread, dread, dread living through that - especially since we'd like to start trying for the next one soon (we also have my adopted 12 y/o stepdaugther so we need more space). Here's the problem. My parents neighbor - who has known me since I was about 9, is moving. Everyone on my parents block has been angling for us to buy the house. The neighbor brought me in while she was working on the kitchen to even show me that if "I" didn't like what she was doing it wasn't super expensive so I could just change it - all said with a wink. My parents live in a historical district with the houses very close together. This house is one house away from my parents. I originally thought it was a three bedroom (vague memories from childhood) but then we found out is was a four bedroom. The house is now listed and I ran into the neighbor while she was cleaning up for her open house - she invited me in. She's done a lot of updating - new electric (houses on this block are 100+ years old), etc - the house has good "bones". I was impressed enough to go back home and grab DH. I was shocked when later he said, "You know, that house, for a four bedroom, could be a good deal for us if she'd consider coming down a little in the price." He generally doesn't like this style of home (for you Chicagoans - it's a four square - little choppy rooms), but he liked this one. It'd be pretty easy to finish the basement, which is a big issues for us, we use ours all the time. Pros - the same block thing is great for the kids. As much as DS would love having Grandma and Grandpa so close, it would be especially nice when we had to work a little late and DD would know that my parents would know if she came home late or was trying to sneak a friends/boys in later. It's a great block, I know a fair number of the neighbors, my son can walk to my parents from his school when he gets older, it means we could hold off doing any construction until we felt more financially ready (we'd eventually expand the kitchen and a bedroom to make a master suite) and it means we would have fourth bedroom right away. It's close the the "el" (commuter trains) that DH uses to go to work, and has a nice yard. Drop off for the kids would become a breeze - just walk over. DD has good friends on the block - in fact, one of the girls I wish she would spend more time with is right there.
Cons - umm, it's one house away from my parents. As DH said, "No matter who you are, there is no way you can have great boundaries when someone can just look out and see if you are home and ignoring the phone."
Also, the neighbor was able to make a list of exemptions for the full commission to the realtor - and we're on it. I have no idea what the exact numbers are, but it could make a difference in our offer being accepted. AND I'm pretty sure the neighbor would be patient about our house being sold. She loves the house and would love to be able to "visit" it so she'd really be thrilled for it to go to someone she knows. She's selling b/c she got remarried - but she works blocks away and will continue to do so. Thanks for making it this far - and HELP!
08-16-2005, 08:47 AM
You know your family best, and your limits.
All I can say is that we lived one block away from my inlaws, for three years, and we moved, with one of the many reasons being it was too close for comfort.
One of my closest friends bought a house down the street from her parents, and they've always been wonderfully close, too, but they, too, ended up moving.
Your parents might be ahead of the game...it sounds like they've been respectful, and get that your family is a separate entity, but after a few years of my MIL/FIL coming over unannounced, letting themselves in, and all sorts of things (and all of it ws done without malice), it was enough for me, for us, and we moved.
08-16-2005, 09:09 AM
Wow, your parents sound super. :) And the house sounds great too. This is a tough one. Could you talk to your mom and dad about it? Something like, "We are considering making an offer on the house, but we want to be sure that we can continue our relationship with you with the same boundaries"? The wording is bad, but something like that. Be sure to mention how wonderful they are about giving you and your family the space you need.
I guess I'm a little dim, but is the house right next door to your parents, or would there be another house between your house and theirs? I think that would make a big difference. As much as I love my parents, and my ILs (really!), if I lived right next door to either of them, I would go batty. But I know that they all have boundary issues now, and they would be sure to escalate if we lived that close.
I probably haven't been very helpful. You know your parents best -- if you think they would be able to handle it without looking in your windows all the time, then it's definitely something to take a closer look at.
08-16-2005, 09:15 AM
I think it depends on your parents. My brother and SIL live next door to my parents and it seems to work. My parents would not dream of stopping by unannounced. In fact, most of the time my brother and SIL are the ones to stop by. It's great for them because they have babysitters nextdoor. Granted my parents do know if they are home or not, and vice versa, but I don't think it has ever been a problem. We also lived next to my Dad's parents for a few years, and I can't remember any issues. However, we are a very close knit family, and I grew up in the same street as two sets of first cousins and loved it. I would love to have my kids grow up in such close proximity to their grandparents or other relatives.
So, no, I don't think you are crazy for even considering it, if you think that your parents are likely to let you have your own space.
DD May 2003
DD May 2005
08-16-2005, 09:30 AM
I don't think you're crazy. In this housing market in particular, I'd leap on it. Your family sounds a lot like my in-laws, and I'd be perfectly willing to live two doors down from them.
08-16-2005, 09:31 AM
It sounds like you have a great relationship with your parents so I would just speak to them. Maybe they don't really want you that close! ;) Just teasing, but I think it would be great to discuss with them.
08-16-2005, 09:36 AM
Well, I am crazy too (see below) but, except for it being an American 4 Square (you know my thoughts on those :)) this sounds like the perfect solution!!
But, this is coming from a girl whose parents, in about 1-2 years will move into my house for approx. 6 months out of the year. And I can't wait :)
08-16-2005, 09:38 AM
A year ago we bought the house next door to my parents. We were in a very similar situation. Our home at the time was just too small and we knew that my mom would be watching Madeline when I went back to work. We were really lucky in that the neighbor sold us the house for less than what he would have put it on the market for because he loved the idea of us buying it. There are definitely moments when I look at DH and ask him what we were thinking but for the most part it was a really good move on our part. Madeline loves being next door to her grandparents and it makes life so much easier. I say go for it!
08-16-2005, 09:39 AM
Could you try a rent to own proposition? If not, I say go for it, as long as you are not compromising on anything else you wanted in terms of the house.
Charlotte born October 2004
08-16-2005, 10:16 AM
I think it sounds great! The house sounds really nice and you'd be getting a good deal on it. Also, I think from a childcare standpoint, it would be overall very good to know that your parents are there to help.
You said that your parents respect your boundaries - I am sure that would not change dramatically. Especially if they make a point to respect your privacy now, they may make an extra effort not to "crowd" you too much.
Good luck with whatever you decide.
08-16-2005, 10:26 AM
I say try it - you've listed SO many positives and only a theoretical negative. I like the rent to own option but if the neighbor is already willing to give you a deal that may be a bit much to ask. Worst comes to worst, you could probably sell in a few years and make some money. . .
08-16-2005, 10:46 AM
I would do it. Your parents sound terrific and very respectful. A good friend of mine lives next door to her parents (and has other relatives on the same street) and she loves it. There's always someone you trust nearby to watch your kids when you need it and your children will grow up having a close relationship with their grandparents. Where I grew up (Long Island), this was very common. My maternal grandparents were a daily part of my life and I really wish that my children would have the same experience. It wouldn't work to be this close with all parents (e.g., I couldn't live that close to MIL), but your situation sounds just right to me! Go for it! :)
DS, Sean 10/03
"Baby makes days shorter, nights longer, home happier, and love stronger."
08-16-2005, 10:46 AM
I would totally go for it! If things don't work out you could always sell it in a few years. Sounds like a winner to me.
I see my mom at least 4 days a week, she watches Nolan for me. I drive 30 min's out of my way each way to pick-up/drop off, my pre-Nolan commute was less than 10 min's. She is no where near as cool as your parents ;), but I would still love to have her closer for Nolan's sake.
Christy, mommy to Nolan 7/22/03
08-16-2005, 10:49 AM
Well, I'm a bit biased, because your parents live an entire mile from us, and I was still hoping you'd move to the next block! But, Rehm is still close in between for Charlie and Alex to play and they'll have playschool together. That would be Lincoln school, right?
4 bedrooms are really hard to find - plus, with a new baby sometime next year, it would be really nice to have backup so close....
08-16-2005, 11:59 AM
LOL - Yeah, now that Charlie and Alex will be in "school" togther this year, there is a part of me that say, "Mmm, it would be great to be in Longfellow's district to be with Charlie too. It is Lincoln, it's where I went - and the owner of the house works there as well.
08-16-2005, 11:59 AM
I say go for it too, as long as you're sure dh is totally on board. I have a great relationship with my parents and they are moving very close to us in a month or so and I'm looking forward to it. That sort of situation used to be so common, and I think it can be very nice as long as everyone remains respectful.
Emily \r\nmom of Charlie born 11/02
08-16-2005, 12:10 PM
You guys are awesome - I was driving home last night thinking "have I lost my mind?" There is one house b/w the one we are considering and the my parents. My lifelong childhood neighbors. I know they aren't going anywhere soon - my best friend in preschool (until boys got cooties) was in a diving accident and broke his neck. He is now paralyzed from the upper chest down and lives with his father in the house. They are quiet and nice. The neighbor on the other side of the house is one of the biggest fans of the ideas of us moving - she's known me since I was 4. Again, nice, quiet, and she also cares for her grandkids and is always telling my Mom Alex is welcome to borrow whatever is out in the yard. I think this makes financial sense for us. DH grew up in a close knit community so he theoritically is fine with the idea. He really does think it would be great for the kids, but worries b/c he knows if it were his family it would never work (love them, but I could spraypaint the definition of boundaries on our house and if they lived that close they'd use their keys to come in and ask us who was bothering us so much we needed to remind them about boundaries) I think I am going broach the subject with DH tonight and if it's still on the market, seriously consider making an offer. Of course, I am still open to hearing the bad stories too!
08-16-2005, 12:15 PM
I am in the go for it booth also.
My parents are very respectful of our boundaries also. DH and I lived with them for 2 and a half years. I would love the oppurtunity to live next door to them. Right now we live 45 minutes away from them. And with the price of gas I see our visits becoming less frequent. :( DD loves them so much and it breaks my heart that we are so far away and they won't get to see her very often anymore.
If it doesn't work out you could always start your search again maybe then you could save up more $ and be able to get one of those more expensive homes.
Maddy born 06/09/04
Little Peanut due 03/02/05
You should totally buy that house. Your parents don't sound like the sort of people who will be peeking out their windows just to see if your car is in the driveway. And you know your old neighbor will be giving you a good deal on the house because she likes your family. I think your parents will be the ones who will have unannounced visits--from their grandkids just popping by!
08-16-2005, 12:49 PM
I think it's a wonderful idea. If it doesn't work out, in 5 years you can move again when your life is stabilized a bit, child wise. In the meantime, I think it would be wonderful.
Mommy to Matthew, who is TWO!
08-16-2005, 12:54 PM
I say go for it. My mom lives 10 miles away and thinks it's "too far," even though we moved 2000 miles across the country so we could be near family again. She barely ever comes over to see her grandson and it makes me very sad.
It sounds like your parents would be great neighbors.
DS born at home 12/03
edited for spelling
08-16-2005, 01:51 PM
Hi!! Only have a sec here, but just wanted to say GO FOR IT! Unless you want to move to Philly. The new house next to mine is available, and we're looking for good neighbors too. You can use our play set and sandbox. : ) In all seriousness, if you parents have been respectful living just a few blocks away (and it seems they've been just wonderful), they aren't likely to change if you move next door.
Wow, all I can say is that I long for that kind of community and relationship with family--it seems almost like a relic of another time (at least in parts of the country I've lived in). If you have it and can hold onto it, then give it a try. At worst, you can move in a few years, and you and I know you will make tons-o-money on your property. The real estate bubble may burst, but not this neighborhood.
Sniff, sniff. I wish I was still living there so we could come by and see it. I was at your mom's a few times, but I didn't pay attention to the house next door.
Please let me know how this turns out. We will potentially be in the same situation next summer as a house down the block from my parents might be a possibility for us. The upside will be a much bigger and better house at a semi-reasonable cost but we are concerned about boundary issues. We live 2 miles away from my parents at the moment and they have been extremely respectful which is a shocker! I think it would be wonderful for your children to live next door to their grandparents.
08-16-2005, 02:03 PM
I say go for it...the fact that you're considering it already says to me that you could handle it.
I live 3000 miles away from my side of the family, and I sometimes still feel like it's too close (especially after living 10 minutes away for almost a year). I live with my ILs, and although we often have little things that need to get ironed out, I could probably live with them forever if I had to.
I think your parents sound pretty awesome - even if they did start to take advantage of the closeness, they sound like they would be really good about a chat about boundaries...and that's huge.
08-16-2005, 02:21 PM
It is as if you and I know each other. My parents live 5 blocks away. My parents are the best in-laws according to DH. My parents take care of DS whenever we need. We go there at least 1-3 times a week for dinner. They never infringe on our space and we live in a building they own. They live in a duplex and if the tenants move out we want to move in. My older brother thinks we're crazy to share a wall with my parents and have them that close. I just know if I say "we want to just hang out", my mom will totally get it and go away (she'll have to drag my dad, but he won't be mad). Can you do that with yours? All of the pros sound like they outweigh the cons. If I could afford to buy a place and it was next door to my parents I'd do it w/out thinking twice. We live in LA so I understand astronomical house prices. We have an open honest relationship where DH & I can say we need our space and they aren't offended. If you can do that, I say there's never been anything more perfect for you then this opportunity. The most important thing is to maintain the relationship you have now. If moving next door could infringe on that then don't do it. HTH!
08-16-2005, 02:37 PM
It sounds like a great set up! Given the fact that your parents really respect the boundaries I would go for it! My in-laws live a mile from me and I love it! And they always call before they come over....we try to do the same. I would love to live next door to them. Good Luck!
08-16-2005, 02:44 PM
Well, I haven't read through all the other replies, but here's my 2 cents:
I live next door to my parents. It wasn't planned, in fact my husband and I were still 4 months away from our wedding when the house went up for sale. It was a great house for the money, I already knew the school district was great, we'd been sort of looking around and knew it fit the type of house we were looking for, and after much discussion we went ahead with it.
That was 6 years ago, and we haven't regretted it at all. Wait, I take that back. There are things about the house I'm not 100% happy with (like the fact that since we're on a hill there's no back door to let the dogs out into the fenced-in yard) but that would have happened next door to my parents or three hours away.
Now, it really depends on your (and your DH's) relationship with your parents. I don't mind so much that my parents can tell whether we're home or not - and more often than not *they're* the ones ignoring their phone, not us! :)
We actually spend a lot of the summer cooking back and forth at each others' houses. My youngest brother is still in college, so it makes for a lot of nice family time when he's home. And then there are days that go by where we just sort of move in our own circles and don't even call. It's really nice to know they're there for minor emergencies, too - like when DH set the oven on fire and we needed to find a smoke-free place to stash Carrie while we aired out the house. I imagine it's just a lot like having really good friends for neighbors. (Honestly, we don't really know our other neighbors so well, but I think it's because the few of them who have kids all have much older kids than Carrie.)
It sounds like you've found a great house and a great situation, and if it were me I'd go for it!
08-16-2005, 02:51 PM
If you can get the house the GO FOR IT!!! How I would love for my parents to be neighbours.. babysitting, food, company.. ahhh... what fun for your kids too!
NEVE three BUGS and a BEE
08-16-2005, 05:07 PM
without reading anyones response so there might be some great points...but if your parents were inconsiderate of your space you'd already know it by now...
I think if you have the relationship you describe I'd do it...
if in such a place and it doesn't work out sell the home. If in the place you describe values will go up and they sound like they woudl sell quick...so I wouldn't worry...
08-16-2005, 05:22 PM
I'd do it. I know it was a different time, but my mother grew up with a grandma a few houses down and the other grandma upstairs in their duplex! She loved it.
Seriously, you know your parents. I know my parents would respect our boundaries and I wouldn't have a problem living that close. If it's awful, you can always move.
08-16-2005, 05:25 PM
I'd say go for it!
It sounds like you have a very healthy relationship with your parents, and it seems like you could sit down and talk out any problems that may arise.
Mom to Gabe, 8/03
Join the BBB Preggo Pals!
08-16-2005, 06:53 PM
Oh Lisa, I wish you were here too. It's basically identical to my parents house - but is missing a lot of the original woodwork and no stain glass windows. I'm sure you don't really remember, but its a Gunderson four square. It's actually brighter than a lot of the Gunderson's we've seen which is probably why DH likes it more. We'll see. Just to make things complicated, our realtor is out of town, and we have to do a contingency if we make an offer. I'm actually hoping it doesn't sell over the weekend giving us time to really see how we would tackle having this place listed and getting my realor back in town. B/c of the exemption, our realor wouldn't make a commission on that end but she'd make one off the sale of our place. I'd really rather have her come through and price our place since she knows us and all the updates w/o me having to list them all. I hate to do that to the guy covering for her (but if I have to I will!) I'm about to hand Alex over to DH and start crunching numbers.
08-16-2005, 07:19 PM
I'd do it! If it were me and my parents I would do it. My parents sound very much like yours. They like their space, too! My friend, her DH and two DDs live next door to her parents and it's been fabulous for all of them!
08-18-2005, 07:40 AM
Yikes, Alaina. It's tough that it is all happening so fast. We'll be in NY tomorrow and Sat. (wish us luck--we're bringing our two boys to a baby naming ceremony--yeah, right on the sitting thing), but definitely let me know what happens (either via the boards or e-mail). Good luck!!
08-18-2005, 09:50 AM
I'm with everyone else on this one. If your parents haven't intruded on your boundaries yet, then this probably won't change that. We live in Rogers Park and my FIL and his wife live in Lakeview. They are pretty intrusive and love to pop in on their way Skokie. So they live 4 miles away and have no sense of boundaries!
BTW, I am guilty of looking out the window to see if my neighbor is home before I call (bag over head!)
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