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I have been the live-in-caregiver for my mum for a year as well as her POA etc. Mum does not need to go into a care facility yet but I have one major worry when that time comes. Do I sell her house while she is still living in it and then look for an appropriate care home OR do I place her in a care home and then put the house on the market? I live in Canada and the city I live in real estate is very high but the market is quite slow at the moment, my fear is that if she goes into a care home first and she is paying $5000 a month to live there and we can't sell the house for a year, that is $60,000 that has been spent for her in the care home while still maintaining her house until it sells. That is the bulk of her savings. If we do it the other way, how will we ever sell the house with her in it? I really could use all of your suggestions. Thank-you!

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What happens when the house was left to the children of the father in a second marriage. His wife's name was never on the deed but her son wants to sell the house to pay for her nursing care in a NH after he spent down her assets specifically given to her by Dad to pay for her living expenses. He spent her share and ours, too. How can that be allowed in Probate Court?
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This is a catch-22 situation. If you sell the house while she's around, the she'll probably build resentment toward you. Before you do anything, explore your options and consequences. It is best to seek advisement from a social worker connected to the agency who is assisting you and your mother. To protect yourself from any liability, see an attorney and an accountant. If your mother is clear lucid enough, you may want to find out what are her wishes. There are too many issues in your case, so don't jump the gun!
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balexander ... I'm Canadian and we have universal healthcare up here.The sale of her house has no connection to her healthcare. However, her savings could go fast if she were paying $5,000 to a private care facility and her house didn't sell.
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You need to meet with an Elder Law attorney to find out what you should do in terms of the sale of the house and other financial matters related to your mother and Medicaid.
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Reverseroles ~ I'm interested in your comment "You can pay yourself as her caretaker with a caregivers contract". Will you please explain what that is, how to create one, what all it covers, all pertinent information please? Thank you.
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There are millions of people who sell their homes while still living in it. Just get rid of most of the stuff, store it, and then "stage" it with the help of a realtor. No one can guarantee a seller's market and since I live in America, I have no idea what the real estate market is like in Canada. Find a realtor whom you trust.
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balex - By & large US Medicaid cannot make you sell your primary residence.

But what happens is that because Medicaid requires the NH resident to do a co-pay of all of their monthly income less whatever small amount the state has as their personal needs allowance, there is NO $ for the NH resident to pay for anything for the house. Some states allow for a portion of their monthly income to be diverted to pay for things for the house either for a short period of time or only if the house is currently under Realtor contract (and again for a limited period of time). If they want to keep the house, someone else will have to pay for everything. Taxes, yard, repairs, insurance, etc and it adds up. Can be unfeasible to essentially have a empty 2nd or 3rd home paying out on. If there is still a mortgage, HELOC, it's probably impossible. Now if family is living at the elder's home, it's different and they are kinda expected to be paying for everything for the upkeep on the home as they are benefitting from the home.

For those evaluating whether to keep or sell "the family home" it really needs to be a reality check on evaluating the data the Realtor gives you; how deep the elders and your pockets are & for just how long realistically; & really how much of a sense of humor you can (or don't) have in all this..... as you are clearing out kitchen cabinets at 3AM as the painters are there in a couple of hours to do mom's job because they got rained out of their outside job and it's the only day they can do you this 1 favor....& then get mom out of the house for a couple of days as she will be worried about paint fumes and strangers in the house OR you get a phone call from mom's neighbor that a hail storm has come through and looks like there is a lot of damage on mom's roof.

Reverse roles has it nailed in "think positive and professional help".
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This is a serious issue and you should go to a lawyer with this question. Its different everywhere. Where I am, yes the house doesnt count until the parent dies, then they come after the house, or money made from the house, back 5 years. If you have lived taking care of her in her home more than a couple of years, the house may be owned by you now. Medicaid puts a lein on homes and gets their money eventually. And, why do you think she will have to be placed some day? Many of us never place our parent and take care of them at home, with part time help. I prefer to take care of my Mom and know she gets the best of care and when I have help, I am in charge of who it is and how they treat her. My Moms in stage 7 , should be bedridden but I use a hoyer and wheelchair and keep her rolling! She is so happy she wakes up laughing yet cannot barely say a few words. We sold moms home and used that money for her supplies, and daycare until I retired. You can pay yourself as her caretaker with a caregivers contract, or get in a cna to help, there are so many options. Think positive and get professional help please.
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I'm in Canada as well. I cared for my mother for 4 years until she needed nursing care 24/7 and went into a NH in the country (I bought a small house in the next village to the NH) an hour's drive away last October. The cost here in Ontario is $2,000-$2,500 depending on whether it's a shared or private room. Although only 15 years old, in the 12 years my mother lived there she didn't spend a penny on maintenance or upgrades so it was shabby. I got it cleared of "stuff" leaving only nice pieces of furniture and had new paint and carpets Spent about $12,000 on it in all. It went to market at the end of February and the sale closed mid May though fortunately it was in a neighbourhood where houses sell quite quickly. I would definitely say NH first then deal with the house. These days, thanks to HGTV, potential buyers are uber picky and will walk away from a house that's not in showroom condition.
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I was told that in NY, the person cannot be forced to sell their primary residence, what they call the person's "homestead", in order to pay down all of their income before becoming eligible for Medicaid. However, you should check this before deciding what to do.
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Great about your condo. I just always am concerned that the caregiver doesn't have a fall-back plan on their future needs after day to day caregiving is done.

So what is your Realtor giving you for comps & DOM? What are they telling you that you need to do (like staging or painting or landscaping) the house to make it competitive? If you can't do staging or other freshening up of the house (both in cost to do and the time to make it happen and supervise and deal with mom being in the house when stuff happens), what do you have to price it at to move it according to the Realtor? Are there alot of other houses - like foreclosures - that is going to get in the way of your sale? Right now, for us, the market in where my mom's house is has a price increase happening as most of the foreclosures have moved through and gone. And there is a influx of new buyers for modest homes because of fracking going on. Where we live, houses sales are low till the cluster of what is happening for flood insurance is more certain. Your Realtor should be able to give you the hard data to help you make a decision.

At the end of all this, it is all about price. If you price it really,really to sell and like now, it is all about pricing it considerably below the appraised value and being able to be comfortable in deducting in total or in part from the listing price the items that would need to be replaced or redone. If mom has no mortgage, or HELOC or other debt on the house, then pricing at significantly below value so that it moves right away can be done. My experience is that some Realtors are more about volume so a quick sale for a reduced price and lower commission is better as they have lots of other houses going on, while other Realtors want to run a full listing (6 mo in my area) at a higher price as they have fewer listing. What is your Realtor like?

Yes, it might be painful to know mom has lost a potential big % of a future possible sale but so much less issues with worry & cost each additional week it is on the market and only having to be double paying for the NH and mom's home for maybe 90 days. But only you can figure out what is the tipping point for you all.
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igloo572 .. I own my own condo so I have that to return to when the time comes to sell. I know how to go about selling a house and I have a realtor, it's just there is no way of knowing how long it will take the house to sell, and I don't know whether I should have my mum already in a care home before I sell or if I should attempt to sell it with her in it. It will be difficult to have to leave the house with her every time it is being shown to buyers, but on the other hand as I mentioned before, I think it might be risky financially to place her in a long term care facility first and then sell the house.. what if it takes a year to sell? It is a nice home in a nice area but there is still no way of knowing .. it's so worriesome.
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awwgh... should be "thanks H & G TV" like Home & Garden TeleVision Channel.
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If mom goes into a NH, where do you then live? I know you want what is best for your mom's care, BUT you do have to think about yourself & your long term situtation too. So what is your plan for YOU?

About the house:
1. Do you have a Realtor? If not, I'd suggest that you drive around your neighborhood (maybe 5 mile radius) and write down the names of the Realtors that you see. There probably is going to be maybe 3 or 4 names that come up the most. I'd contact each of them to come over to discuss having them be the listing agent. You do NOT have to sign off to do this, it is just an exploratory on your mom's options. What they will do is prepare a mini book on the property and what the comps (comparables) are and also what the DOM is looking like. DOM is days on market and this is mucho importante for real estate.Ask the Realtor how they deal with showings. Like say it goes onto market Sept 1 and there is 5 showings while other houses have 20, then your price is too high and how does the realtor deal with this....like do they do a 2 week then make you lower price approach or just let it ride approach. You have to find a Realtor that understands your timeframe and financial constraints. You can ask what their closing time has been (like 80% go to closing in 60 days, that is an aggressive agent)

2. Go through everything on the house for the past 2 years to get a firm number on what the house costs. Everything from taxes to insurance to utilities. So you will know a pretty exact amount of the cost to maintain the house. You can figure out just what is your breaking point at not being able to float the house costs and mom's care.

3. Also go over what the status is on the majors (by that it means the roof, water heather, AC & heating, etc) and if any of the majors is in need of replacement. So if the roof is at 25 years and will cost 15K to replace either you will be expected to deduct that from the price or replace it before the act of sale. Ask the Realtor what is expected in your area for property.

4. Showing the property. Because of all the tv shows (thanks H>V!) buyers are expecting houses to be clean, decluttered, open and renovated. If the house has decades of living there, you will have to go through and get rid of stuff in a massive way. Remove any and all things that show the family who lives there.
This often cannot be done when the parent is still living in the house. You know your situation best as to what you can do. Maybe do all rooms but her bedroom and her bathroom. But expect the value of the buyers bid to be lower if the house isn't reality TV ready. You & mom & your pets will need to disappear for all open houses and showings too. Often the showings are with 30minutes notice and kinda have to be that way. Only you know if this is feasible.

I don't know how this works in Canada, but my mom still has her house and is on Medicaid & in a NH in the States. Her house is an exempt asset for how Medicaid works in her state. When my mom was going into NH, we faced what to do with the house (50+ years my parents lived there). I met with a couple of Realtors and they were quite frank in what the house maybe could sell for & in what needed to be done to make it competitive in a buyers market. House has foundation issues and is in a historic district, so a most difficult sale.Plus 50+ years of old lady stuff in the house..... So between all that and the fact that my mom was adamant in wanting to keep her house and maintain her "right to return", the best use of her money was to spend-down on things for her care (lots of dental work). So to this day the house is still there. I & another family member (we all live out of state) pay for all on the house and for us it works as the costs on the empty house are manageable and mom has wonderful neighbors. I will have to deal with MERP (Medicaid estate recovery) exemptions after she dies though. My point is that you have to decide based on what the Realtors tell you, what is feasible both financially and physically for the many months or possible years of having the house. Good luck and keep a sense of humor in all this.
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