Post # 1
So about a couple of months ago (more like February) we put a downpayment on property that my fiance’s grandmother sold to us. We are doing it on land contract, but she said that we didn’t have to really pay anything until we were living out there which we thought would be within the next year – year and a half and until I finished school and got a better job. Recently, his dad gave us a mobile home that unfortunately cannot be moved out there due to its condition. We have decided to start looking for a starter home as the mobile home is falling apart and it is too costly to repair (we would have to re do everything). We plan on giving her some money that we already have, but how would we go about telling her that this is the best decision for us financially? I don’t want her to be angry at us, but I also can’t live in this trailer that is falling apart and don’t have money to build on the property just yet. How would you go about telling her that we are looking into purchasing a starter home (seriously like $50,000 or less).
Post # 2
I think you just need to be straight forward with her, and you also need to know your end game. It’s not articulated here, but are you expecting her to pay back your down payment? What’s all this about planning to give her some money?
This is a business transaction, and from what you’ve posted here your game plan is not clear. Get clear on your desired financial outcome and on your contractual/implied obligations and go and talk to her directly.
Post # 3
Cbgg has given you good advice.
Post # 5
From what I’ve gathered, you’re buying land from FI’s grandmother, but not signing the paperwork or making payments until you’re ready to live on the land, but the timeframe you thought would work is coming and going and you still can’t live on the land? I wouldn’t cave about the trailer…if it can’t make it out there, it can’t make it out there. I would start by talking to Grandmother about her expectations for payment and paperwork, before telling her that you don’t think living on the land is in the cards this year. I would then, depending on the contract she had in mind, agree upon perhaps a lease-to-own situation so that you could make small payments on the land until you can build. Get it all drawn up. I’m sure just helping pay taxes on the land in question would be a welcome contribution.
FI’s family has land. A few of his cousins have/are going to build on grandmother-owned property. Make sure that the land is zoned, surveyed and contracted properly. Right now FI’s family’s land is not parcelled. No one’s ever wanted to pay the surveying fees. Problem is, once Grandmother passes their homes will be built on estate land. I have faith that whomever handles the estate will be kind, but Grandma has also entrusted FMIL and I with details of her wishes to make sure no one gets vindictive since FI and I won’t be state holders (we’re now out of state).
Depending on your climate, have you thought about a micro-home? You’ve probably seen photos of them floating around the web…they’re those tiny eco-homes that are often built on trailer beds. They’re small, but also inexpensive. Some of them run off the grid, too, if your new land is unserviced right now. I would imagine it would have a nice re-sale value and you could put the expenses of your current living situation towards the land and a starter home.
Another off-the-beaten-path suggestion I would add, though also climate dependent, is Cordwood Building. I went to school in a very rural, very cold climate. I was lucky to meet a gentleman who specialized in this type of building at a local fair dedicated to sustainable lifestyles. Winters are rough there and most people don’t “go green” for politics sake, but to help make survival easier. Cordwood building is incredibly good in many climates, exceptionally heat efficient, and by far one of the cheapest and easiest buildings to construct. They are also exceptionally beautiful and durable when built properly.
The man I met ran the Cordwood Building School and has done so for thirty years. More info here: http://www.cordwoodmasonry.com
Best of luck!