Okay, I've been thinking. The house Paul owns with his sister is in very poor shape. VERY poor shape. When Paul went there for the funeral, he said he was advising his sister to move out for SAFETY, and he estimates nothing's been repaired or maintained since his dad left his mom two decades ago. Let that sink in a minute. TWO DECADES. Furthermore, it's in an area of the country with extremely low cost-of-living, and real estate prices are very low anyway there.
So let me run something by you: Would it be CRAZY to just GIVE his sister the house? On one hand, this is wildly unfair to us. On the other hand, it is ALSO wildly unfair to have her live there year after year, possibly driving the house's condition even further into the ground, while sending us bill after bill for half the repairs (including, for starters, REPLACING THE ROOF), and then eventually we sell it and after taxes and agency fees get enough money to mayyyyyybe make up for the money we contributed to repairs.
If we give her the house, we can cut it loose: we don't have to worry about taxes, or repairs, or insurance, or ANYTHING. She can live there without us having to be connected to it, and she can pay for the repairs herself. We never have to think about it again. And, Paul can stop thinking of me as a Heartless Money-Hungry Fritch for suggesting his sister NOT live there rent-free while we pay half for repairs.
If the two options were (A) sell the house and split the cost, or (B) give her the house, I would obviously not even be considering Option B. But instead the two options seem to be (A) grind my teeth to nubs with frustration as she lives there for free and we PAY money into an asset we may or may not ever see half of, IN ADDITION to paying to maintain our OWN house, or (B) give her the house.
Tell me what you think. This is a good time for frankness. Paul and I have been having tense email exchanges all day, and I suspect a decision will soon be made because neither one of us wants to talk about it any more than we have to.
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