Does this sound at all reasonable?

jane_d_1950June 30, 2012

Our son is 30 and has a job that is barely over minimum wage. He is a slow learner and barely made it through high school, and that was with a lot of help, so it is doubtful he will ever have a good job. He shared an apartment with friends after high school, but one by one, they got married and when the last one left the apartment, he had to give it up and moved back home with us about 6 months ago. Living with just one roommate, he fell behind on his car payments and credit card, and just now caught up with those.

He clears $700-800 a month salary, and thinks he will have enough for deposits and first and last months rent in a couple of months if he can find a roommate. The cheapest rent he can find around here for a two bedroom apartment is $850 a month. He doesn't grasp that after paying half the rent, and half of the utilities, he will probably only have $200 left every month for groceries and all the other required expenses like car insurance, not to mention saving for emergencies and the next car.

Dh and I were thinking we could find a townhouse, duplex, or small house to buy really cheap (we don't have a lot of money either, only about $20K cash, so would have to take out a mortgage.

I see listings for houses that are going to be up for auction and they seem to be the cheapest, but I can't find any information about where or when the auction is, or how to see the house prior to the auction. A guy we know buys foreclosed homes from the bank, and says he pays cash for 50%-60% of the asking price, but he hasn't told how he finds these houses. These two options seem to be the only way we are going to be able to find a house in a safe neighborhood.

There are some parents who might like having their grown children living with them, but we are not those parents.

Long story to ask these questions. Any idea how to find these type houses, or any other type house we can actually afford? Our home is paid off, but I've heard it's hard to get a mortgage for a home that will basically be a rental.

Anyone have a similar situation or have any ideas?

Do we need to find a real estate agent to find foreclosures? If so, any agent or specifically a buyer's agent?

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May I suggest that you contact either the social services of your medical center, YMCA, or any organization that deals with people that have any type of learning disability? They might be able to find him a place to live that have others with a adult mentor in charge to help him and others make good decisions. My DD did that for awhile and she said it was challenging but she did enjoy it. (She was hired by the County to do the job) Some places have small apts, others share a home, etc. Hope this helps and good luck.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 5:05PM
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Would he have to have a diagnosed learning disability? He doesn't. We had him tested several times while in school, both at school and at a private facility, and his IQ is between 70 and 85, which means he is above an intellectual disability but below normal. Basically, he fell between the cracks.

He doesn't need to live with an adult mentor, but he doesn't always make the best decisions, especially with money. If you ask him, he thinks he is completely normal, and even people who aren't around him all the time would never know his thought processes are slow. We are here (for now) to help with decisions, and he is able to live on his own, and did for several years. He has a job he enjoys, it just isn't a job with advancement or high enough salary to be self-supporting.

Mainly, we are trying to find a way for him to live a normal life away from us. On his own, he could probably quality for low income housing, and that is always an option. Another wrinkle is that he has a girlfriend, who is close to the same age but seems very immature to us. If they were to marry and have a family, I'd hate to see them in the low income housing around here.

I know that seems that I in denial, but I really don't think he would qualify for any assistance.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 5:43PM
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The thing is... a lot has changed in diagnosing learning disabilities in the last 20 years. You say he is 30 with "normal" IQ. IQ isn't everything. There are a lot of very smart people in this world who have a specific learning disability holding them back. The spectrum of learning disabilities looks much different today than 20 or 15 or 10 years ago.

If he is not opposed, I might help him look into that.

As for your actual question, I can't help. Hopefully someone will be able to help you. You might also talk to a banker to see what you might actually qualify for as a "home loan." Since yours is paid off, it might not matter that you are buying an income property. They can always use yours as collateral. Or, you can refinance all or a part of yours to buy him a house outright--carrying one mortgage (on your own house). Either way, I'd make sure my name (not his) was on the title.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 7:19PM
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No, I don't think he has to be diagnosed with any disability, but I would not buy him a home or even a duplex to live in. I don't think he could handle the stress of payments, keeping it up, repairs, utilities etc. I would talk to several of the management places and explain the situation and find a rental that he could handle. Especially one with a manager on site. My son in MI has this, and since he is a truck driver and gone alot, it really is helpful to his wife who does have some learning problems. Maybe some outside counseling would help. Here in Minot they have several support groups for people who need them. They not only have meetings, but do a lot of fun things. They have profession leaders avaiable if needed. Check your paper for listings. What city are you in? If you do not want information on this forum, you can email me direct.
Good luck

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 9:38AM
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The ONLY way I would buy this child a house if it were done so outright as a non revocable trust with an annuity set up to pay the property taxes, home maintenance, and utilities. It doesn't sound as though you are in a position to do that, so no, I would not purchase anything that had to rely on him to make any type of payments or home maintenance. Instead, I would focus on the social services that are in place to assist him and also focus on paying off your own home and retirement. After your own home is paid off and your retirement is funded, perhaps you will be in a better position to fund some type of legacy to him to permanently assist him after you are gone. It might involve the sale of your primary property and the purchase of a small home with a trust maintaining control over it. But, you really should see a financial planner to come up with a long term plan as well as checking into social services for the "now" situation.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 9:59AM
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I understand your son has not been diagnosed with a disability of any kind but still, there are things to do that can help him out.

My BIL is in the exact same boat as your son. He also lived on his on for many years but his company downsized and he lost his job.

Start camping out at the local aid societies. There is always at least one person there that know the ropes and understands what is available in the way of aid, housing and medical insurance for your son. It will take some doing to find that person but it is imperative that this is accomplished first.

Only our fed and state governments could screw up aid to those deserving to the extent that it is today with it's myriad of conflicting rules, procedures and passing the buck. You must identify someone whom will advocate for your son.

Once this is done, he probably qualifies for Section 8 housing and put him on the waiting list. There is always a waiting list - even if there are places available - it's government run remember.

He probably qualifies for food stamps given his low income. Get him signed up for that.

He may be covered by Medicaid again, given his low earnings.

Your son is exactly the type of person that these types of aid are supposed to be used for. It is a hard road to find this help but it is available.

I would not purchase living quarters for him. His accepting help from you may disqualify him from many of these programs.

My BIL has a very low paying job but is able to make ends meet with the assistance provided by Medicaid and food stamps.

Keep after it to find a good, local resource who can help him find the aid he needs.

One other thing, go with him on the interviews with the aid agencies. The interview process is brutal and your son may not be able (or want) to answer the questions properly.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 10:15AM
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i agree whole heartedly with having him retested and finding a social worker or agency to take an interest in him specifically.

as far as housing--how about intentional communities?
may be he'd be happy in a camphill community---those are springing up everywhere.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 12:43PM
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About 15% of the population has an IQ below 85. Barring other problems, your son should be able to lead a full and productive life without financial assistance from you or the taxpayers.

The numbers you are posting don't add up. $800/month = $9,600/yr = $4.62/per hour working 40 hours per week. Federal minimum wage is $7.25. Anyone making minimum wage has a net negative federal tax rate, so I assume he is working way less than full time?

In the short and long run, he's either going to have to work a whole lot more or find a higher paying job. Yes, there are lot of assistance programs in the US, but those are not permanent solutions to count on for the next 50 years. Honestly, if he has been living out on his own since highschool, he's capable of taking care of himself - even if you doubt it.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 9:36AM
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I'm sorry to say, no--it doesn't sound like a good idea to mortgage your retirement years to buy a house for your son. I don't know how old you are, but you may not even be able to get a mortgage to buy a second home at this stage of life. Even if you can it doesn't sound as if you can afford the mortgage payments IF he cannot. There are many reasons why he might not be able to keep up with the responsibility of a home--he really doesn't make enough, he makes poor decisions and may end up spending money for luxories before necessities, he could lose his job, the expenses (taxes, insurance, repairs, etc) could increase above his ability to pay.

I know you want to help him, but at your stage of life, it's just not practical to take on this kind of financial burden. You really don't want to be stuck working until age 70-80, do you? to pay his mortgage?

What are the possibilities of maybe adding a small apt. to your home? Maybe fixing up a garage, or building him his own efficiency out the back? Something with a separate entrance, so that he could feel independent, and you'd reclaim some of your space? Alternatively, I'd really look into possibly getting him qualified--if he can get into government-sponsored housing, his rent would be based on his ability to pay. And that would take into consideration his income, expenses, health, etc. My mom lived in a wonderful senior tower. On the open market, her apt. would have gone for around $1800/month--but she paid only $250/month. There were also a few younger people living in the building who qualified because of their special needs. They were people able to live on their own, but who needed a little extra help.

I fear that buying him a house now, could be a decision that bankrupts you in your retirement years. You really don't want to take that chance. You won't have the resources to fix a problem like that at that time. Sit down and brainstorm and see if you can't come up with a better solution that won't have such serious repercussions if things go wrong.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 2:58PM
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In addition to the things the other posters mentioned, you might want to think about the decisions he might make if you and your husband weren't around or if your son was the homeowner of record. I had an older relative by marriage whose wife passed away, leaving her house jointly between him and her children from a previous marriage. He remarried within a matter of months and for the most part quit communicating with his adult stepchildren--the only family he had left. His new, much younger wife quickly pushed him to buy them out and put her name on the deed. She then divorced him within a year or two. She ended up with the house.

Do you trust your son's judgment if he's the owner of record? This particular relative didn't have much, but he also didn't have the best judgment and that made him a target. If your son is easily led or doesn't always think things through, it might be a good idea to set up some legal protections like GreenDesigns suggests.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 8:51PM
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"Another wrinkle is that he has a girlfriend, who is close to the same age but seems very immature to us."

"He doesn't grasp that after paying half the rent, and half of the utilities, he will probably only have $200 left every month for groceries and all the other required expenses like car insurance, not to mention saving for emergencies and the next car.

Wrinkle? Sorry to sound insensitive and it's sure hard to find the words to ask but, do all involved understand how important it is to be "careful?"

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 11:54PM
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