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The Pocono family vacation house and what to do.
Old 01-13-2018, 09:19 AM   #1
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The Pocono family vacation house and what to do.

My wife and her three sisters built it 30 years ago, just as I was coming into the picture. I slept on the floor when the first beds and furniture were delivered. Back then the nearest neighbor’s house was a brisk couple minute up the hill walk and as a vacation home it was often vacant. All manner of critters could be seen out that back window. I was our little oasis in the woods. My wife and SILs were afraid of the bears; I threatened to put honey on the nearby trees. These are not woodsy people and known to say “bugs eck!”

2 and 1/2 hours away ( then, on a rare good day now a bit less), in a gated community 3 bedrooms, a loft, a great room and a beautiful stone fireplace. It has stayed immaculate all these years as the ladies are painters, have a handyman (me) and big on leaving it the way they found it. The routine was always the same 2 days there, often a weekend and 2 hours cleaning before we left.

I fished there with my son and caught pickerel, bass an trout. In the winter I skied and sledded on the associations small ski slope. We swam in their community pools and my kids road their horses. I walked the loop around the block up and down hill countless times with my then young and now old pooch.

There were bumps along the road: a couple break-ins, a well pump, $25K exterior redo and lots of small stuff like gravel for the drive way to keep the mud at bay. Oh and the attack of the killer wasps- Quite a scene I can tell you. Still It is a tidy little house.

Time, Smart Stewardship, industry and a bit of luck can turn a new neighborhood into a desirable tree lined suburban delight with great school districts. Unfortunately that isn’t the story Im telling here. Walking the loop over the years I’ve seen that overbuilding and foreclosures abound.

Hey Honey how about we buy or build a vacation home? Sounds great right? Well it is great only if you use it. Kids get into weekend sports and some weekends you are just too tired to deal with packing up the car and a that three hour drive. Will there be traffic on the Cross Bronx? I can tell you- probably. There’s a house at the head of our road that I’ve seen someone in perhaps 3 times 25 years ago and it has been abandoned since.

A couple years back we added Cameras to the house as our wood was disappearing. Sad to say but people steal wood to stay warm.
There isn’t much industry up there.

My daughter went to the house in early December and we discovered the septic tank cover was off. Yeah, the septic people think it was a bear. Well yesterday the tank was pumped and after 30 years we will need a new pump ($1300 all in). All this crystallized my thinking that perhaps it is time to sell. So I arranged to meet a realtor yesterday as well. Bad news our $125,000 (100K paid +25K redo) home is now worth $80 something K. I was not surprised, like I said foreclosures are keeping prices way down.

I thought of selling so that we could simplify and be free of all the anchors that hold the wife and I to this part of Pennsylvania. I want a more rural setting (Yeah my daughter will be here and my Freshman college son has three more years). Im thinking a house on a lake or a house with lake access would be nice. Plus it cost $7,500 a year to fund the house (e.g. taxes, insurance, utilities). Three of the sisters are paying so my share will be $2500 each year we keep it. Of course this year it will be more.

If we sold it would be ‘found’ money.. Id love to gift the house to the kids but I’m not sure they could fund it.
Options:
1. Sell it
2. Buy the rest of em out and use it as my summer home when i sell the castle in South east Delaware.
1. I’d put in Air conditioning (need for a few days a year)
2. Insert for the fireplace (In case we lose electricity)
3. A better camera system
4. Maybe add a Garage.
3. Do nothing for now
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:01 AM   #2
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Frankly I would let the sisters sort it out. Maybe prep your wife on your concerns and how to bring it up with them.

Looks like one of the sisters dropped out on the "share of payments? Is there a possibility that more will drop? Will you get all the payments (and handyman chores) and they get to enjoy it? Does the rest of the family use it on a regular basis?

Our vacation house was 3 hours away. It was hard to get over with activities and such. We really tried to get over once a month. But sometimes in winter we would miss some. We solved that by selling our big house and downsizing in the vacation house

I never would go in shares on housing. I've been in a few partnerships. They all ended (amicably) because one party (me) felt they were doing more work for same or less money
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:05 AM   #3
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I'm going through the same thought process.

Just change it to been in the family for 100 years, on an island, no electricity, locals are about 40% unemployed so if it's not nailed down it's stolen.

Averaged out, I'm probably paying $4,000 per yr just to keep it.

So far I'm leaning to a heart to heart with kids, as I seriously don't think they can afford it or even want it. They don't spend much time at it.

So I'm defaulting to "Do nothing for now " as I can enjoy it more now that I'm retired.

Do your kids spend lots of time at it or do they just enjoy it for a long weekend or two with their friends to party ?
Do they feel like it's a hotel or they have ownership, and want certain changes to make it better ?

My kids are uninterested, don't go up, or treat it like a hotel, so I'm not hopeful about passing it on.
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:11 AM   #4
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We have a lovely lakehouse similar distance from Toronto. Owned it 20 years and still love it. Will give to daughter and SIL who love the place.

Sounds to me like you should sell yours though. My experience is that splitting an asset like this with family is problematic. If you like the lifestyle buy another place that suits your needs better.
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:25 AM   #5
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Our lake house is across town--18 miles and 30 minutes. My grandmother bought the property 72 years ago for $2300 per lot. Now the land is worth more than 100 times that.

I bought out my sister's half of the house and property 2 years ago. But we have not used the house more than 1 night a year. I have been too busy buying and selling a couple of houses and moving.

There's no way our daughter will ever afford the place and it will be liquidated after we're gone. We are going to move out there for the Summer, however. I grew up there.
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The Pocono family vacation house and what to do.
Old 01-14-2018, 07:26 AM   #6
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The Pocono family vacation house and what to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
Do your kids spend lots of time at it or do they just enjoy it for a long weekend or two with their friends to party?

Hard to gauge since DD (22) graduated in May, I think her and the BF have been there perhaps three times. They vacationed in Spain after graduation and Her BF’s family has a beach house so our mountain has a good deal of competition.

DW’s older sister has 3 adult kids with families that used to use the house off and on but now they are tied up with weekend activities.
Maintenance has fallen on DW, SIL and Me.

Son 19 would’nt be allowed to up alone as he hasn’t demonstrated the same responsibility yet. Nothing bad mind you but a bit of a 19 year old scatter brain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
Do they feel like it's a hotel or they have ownership, and want certain changes to make it better?

They would do as asked but taking initiative Naah.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrapr View Post
Looks like one of the sisters dropped out on the "share of payments? Is there a possibility that more will drop? Will you get all the payments (and handyman chores) and they get to enjoy it? Does the rest of the family use it on a regular basis?

1) Anything is possible.
2) handyman chores aren’t a big deal
Well i guess if their kids use it occasionally they get to enjoy it. Older sister has no kids and isnt leaving Florida anytime soon
When the lid was off the septic system no one had been there in 2 months...
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:07 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=rayinpenn;1996477
1) Anything is possible.
2) handyman chores aren’t a big deal
Well i guess if their kids use it occasionally they get to enjoy it. Older sister has no kids and isnt leaving Florida anytime soon
When the lid was off the septic system no one had been there in 2 months...[/QUOTE]

Sell Mortimer
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:15 PM   #8
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Sounds like Saw Creek over in East Stroudsburg. Did they ever get casino gambling?
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Old 01-15-2018, 07:48 PM   #9
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Sounds like Saw Creek over in East Stroudsburg. Did they ever get casino gambling?

No gambling that i know of
Not saw creek but i think there’s a bunch of similar associations
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