Mother has advanced dementia. She's had dementia for nearly 20 years now she's in the advance stages. I left my job to take care of her because we've used her savings of caregivers. She never really took care of her house so I've had to use credit cards to keep the house maintained

Now that she is in advance stages I would like to refi the house to make up only a few changes to sell. Like new windows, flooring and AC. She has $400,000 equity, good credit but high debt to income

I would like to make minor updates to sell home and place her in assistant living. So I return to work and not drown in debt by keeping her at home

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Credit is granted on ability and willingness to pay. If she is in decline and headed to a Nursing Home, banks will avoid giving the loan. Mom can fix up the property with her own funds as part of the Medicaid spend down. Do NOT use your own money or co-sign anything. Igloo gave you good advice, talk to a realtor about what makes the house sell, and do no more. Get it on the market ASAP, because summer is when things sell.
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Txcamper bring up really important points as to whether doing upgrades or repairs will be worth the time & cost; and that you will find it hard to do any legal on the house without being DPOA with financial ability clearly written into the DPOA document.

I see a couple of other issues in all this:
- you mention that you have spent your own funds (from your credit cards) to do things on the property. You kinda need to have an agreement done as to any repayment of these as loans to your mom to be reimbursed by the proceeds from the sale of the property (in the future). If you don't have this, you may find that when mom applies for Medicaid after she has sold her home that any $ paid to you will be viewed as gifting and subject to a transfer penalty by Medicaid. You really have to keep receipts, etc or whatever to clearly document that that $ 86.45 paid to you was to reimburse you for $ 86.45 charged on your CC for the plumber to work on mom's house. Understand? Medicaid just views any funds to family as gifting unless you can do this; and you don't want to have this sticky to deal with.
- renovation or repairs of a home can be really disruptive and for those with dementia it can be a huge problem. They tend to be paranoid - folks are stealing; seeing strangers as old family or as threats - with the later stages of dementia, so having workers coming in can be a huge issue. Contractors can require that you are out of the house when work is being done due to liability issues too. So carefully think about how to deal with all this before you sign off to get work done
- also this is an issue on placing the house on the market.
Realtors really want the property owner gone when the house is going to be shown and trying to do this days in advance is going to be very difficult. Usually it's we need to show the house within the next 2 hours that happens. Will that work for your mom?? and can you have the house all "buyer ready" 24/7?? Old house with old people stuff and smell in it will be a hard sell under the best of situations as the current market expects homes to be granite countertops & rainfall shower heads. (Thank you H&G TV!!). I'd really suggest that you drive around the neighborhood and jot down the names of the Realtors who have signs up. Probably 2 - 3 names will come up over & over again - contact those as they know the area and have them come over to do a market evaluation on the house. The big realty groups have programs that do this and it takes them minutes to prepare this and do comps. You want to also ask each Realtor what the DOM is for your area (days on market). For those with elderly a long DOM of 4 - 6 months or longer can be very difficult to cope with.
- you might want to get a home inspection done. Now this is tricky in that if you get it done, then you have to indicate awareness of the problem in the Realtor contract. I'm not sure if this is required in all states, but when we've listed property there is a check off on each of the areas of the house and the owner needs to mark if they know of any deficiencies; you need to disclose any knowledge. So if you know there is roof damage, you need to indicate that. Personally I like having an inspection done and putting it as an attachment to the Realtor contract, so that any potential buyers can't come back and say "we want 15K off the price due to the roof". Too bad it was disclosed from the get-go so your offer needs to be based on that. But I'm in a market (New Orleans) where there is very little inventory so its a sellers market. Your Realtor can give you a lot of insight on how sellable the property is for your market.

I'd suggest you have Realtors come & look at the house before you do ANY work. It just may not be worth the time, $ and energy to fix up the kitchen. It may be better to pay someone to help do a massive clean out of stuff in the house and get the front yard done.

Also think about what you would do or go, IF you had to have mom out of the house for hours every day……you can only sit in the car down the street for so long. Good luck in all this, it will not be easy.
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Unless you are on the mortgage, or have Power of Attorney, I don't think you can enter into a refinance of her mortgage, or even sell the house. When you refinance, you are essentially buying your house again. There will be a survey, an appraisal, and a closing, all with fees. Sometimes those fees are buried back into the loan. If you are intending to pull out the equity to use for the updates, know that doing so reduces the equity of her home in the future. Interest rates may not be in your favor. Additionally, you might not realize a return on the investment of windows flooring and air conditioning. In other words, you may spend $100,000 on improvements, but be unable to sell the house for an additional $100,000. It might be better to sell the house "as is" and let the buyer make the improvements as they wish. This is just my opinion. It is certainly admirable to be thinking ahead. You might consult with a real estate professional for your area and get their opinion of the value of selling as is, doing partial updates, or doing everything you are intending. They are the ones who really know the market!
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