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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Messages 1 2 3 

Need to Gripe by pandab on 24 November 2007 5:20am
Sorry, but I need to grouse for a bit.

As most of the regulars in the forum know, my father passed away this past May. I am the exectrix of his will.

To give a little background, my brother and I have not had what you might call an easy relationship for several years. It has not been hostile or anything. Just not terribly close. I am not well-versed in money matters beyond the normal household variety, but my brother has even less financial acumen than I have. I have been relying on my dad's accountant and stock broker to lead me through the legal stuff of being executrix, and so far, it has worked out well.

During our father's illness and following his death, my brother and I have gotten much closer. As long as we stick to family affairs, we have gotten along better than in years. There have been no major conflicts--and very few minor ones--over settling Dad's estate. It has been quite a pleasant surprise!

You know there is a "but then" coming, don't you?

But then ... We put Dad's house up for sale. You are no doubt aware the current housing market in most of the US ... Well, it sucks. Because of the timing, we couldn't get the house on the market until September, which is not a good time because of school starting. Now, of course, we are facing the holidays, and who but very desperate are even looking at houses right now, much less buying?

The trouble started right away. My brother really dislikes the realtors I chose. He says they are too negative, even though they only pointed out the poor market and mortgage situation. Then he doesn't believe we are asking enough for the house, even though our asking price is in line with other houses in the area. He believes we should ask about $30,000 more than we are. He believes we should do a "sale by owner," even though neither of us has either the time or the legal knowledge to do the job properly. I, for one, don't have the nerves for it.

He is really a nice man, and I love him. Still, he is driving me nuts. He goes to work and talks with all his buddies. He talks with his father-in-law. They all tell him about how we are going about it all wrong. I've shown him all the facts and figures, hoping to prove to him that we are at the whim of a market in the tank. To no avail, so far. He gets these ideas in his head, and he won't let it go.

Yesterday, before Thanksgiving dinner, he started in again. I told him, if he really feels that strongly about it, I will go to a lawyer after the first of the year and get a Power of Attourney to turn over selling the house to him. If he thinks he can do better, he is welcome to try. Unfortunately, my spurt of temper hurt his feelings. He was just trying to help, he said. I know that is true, but I can't think of another way to prove to him that most of his ideas on the matter are as half-baked as the guys who have been feeding them to him.

Sheesh! Here is a piece of advice. If anyone, even your nearest and dearest, asks you to be their executor/executrix, the answer is "No. I'm honored, but no." :+)

There ... I feel a little better now.

Re: Need to Gripe by Lounge Trekker on 24 November 2007 5:34am
Realtors collect a lot of money for not a lot of work. Sell it yourself, using a notary to do all the paperwork. You can still use realtors to set a price.

Sorry for the double-double

Lounge Trekker
Re: Need to Gripe by Lounge Trekker on 24 November 2007 5:36am
Hang in there Pandab. One day this will be a distant memory, don't let it destroy your family.

Realtors collect a lot of money for not a lot of work. A tough market might make it too big a burden, but if you negotiate a selling price, then turn it over to your lawyer or a notary, it will give you tens of thousands of dollars of leeway.

You can still use realtors to set a price.

Lounge Trekker
Re: Need to Gripe by Ken Dunn on 24 November 2007 1:09pm
No need to gripe about the funniness that develops on of most of the threads in Blathering On.
Regarding the house, pandab, Lounge Trekker gives good advice and when I was executor for my wife's father's estate we left the sale of the property to the solicitor/notary and were patient regarding the matter.
I also know a man who gave the sale of a house to 3 different Estate Agents/Realtors and the one who secured the sale got the fee!
Re: Need to Gripe by geordiegirl on 24 November 2007 1:52pm
Just don't fall out completely with your brother about this, Pandab. It's a sad statistic that most family quarrels are over wills/money.
Re: Need to Gripe by tucsonmike on 24 November 2007 7:50pm
Find another Executor, who is completely neutral. My parents, for example have one of the attorneys in the firm where my sister Debbie works.
Re: Need to Gripe by mrsthing on 24 November 2007 8:39pm
In the short term, just swallow your pride and apologize to your brother. Explain your misgivings calmly, and explain that you didn't mean to hurt his feelings. It's not worth wrecking a working relationship. Ask him for more information on his ideas--they may not be as half-baked as they seem. Lots of people here in CT sell their own homes, and aside from the hassle of arranging showings and making sure all the legal stuff is done right, it seems to work. Maybe the thing to do is take the house off the market until the weather is good enough that people start house-hunting again.

My brother and I don't really have a relationship. We never got along very well, even as kids. We sold my mother's house in 2004, and haven't seen each other since. (BTW, it sold in late November in Massachusetts.) He didn't even want to celebrate when we got our checks from the closing--he just said, "I've got to get to work." (I celebrated with a friend instead.) He only lives a couple of hours away, but he never calls or emails, and doesn't seem interested in visiting us or having us visit, so I've stopped asking.

You've got a brother you can talk to, at least.
Re: Need to Gripe by pandab on 25 November 2007 12:14am
Thanks, everyone! I feel better today after getting a good night's sleep.

I already apologized to my brother for hurting his feelings and, in return, asked him to try to understand the amount of pressure I am feeling right now. Not only am I trying to manage Dad's estate and dealing with the first holiday season since his death, but I am in the middle of changing jobs. Too much drama for one year! :+)

I told him I want to hear his ideas, but I reminded him not everyone can take the blunt manner he uses. I am one of them sometimes, especially when my emotions are already running high. He admitted only later does he realize how he might sound and promised he would try to think a bit more about how he puts things before speaking. It is not so much the substance of what he says as it is the way he says it that makes my hackles rise.

We struck a compromise. We'll keep the realtor we have until the first of March. Then, if nothing has happened, we will start looking for another one that he feels better about.

I only set two conditions. One, the person cannot be either family or friend, and two, they must work at realty full-time. No co-workers who happen to moonlight as realtors, thank you. I have seen too many situations with family and friends turn nasty when it comes to business matters. Other than those two conditions, I am prepared to go with whoever he feels good about.

We'll work it out somehow. In many ways, he is having more issues with Dad's death than I am. His wife and I are trying to get him to talk to his minister or a counselor to help him work through some of it. So far, his pride is holding him back (it's not the manly thing to do), but I think we are starting to make progress with him.

Re: Need to Gripe by mrsthing on 25 November 2007 8:27pm
What is it with men? They'd rather have an ulcer, a heart attack, or jump off a bridge than talk about their feelings! Not every man, but most of the ones I know. Tell him he has emotions for the same reason he has nipples: nobody really knows why, but there they are, so he might as well accept them. ;-)
Re: Need to Gripe by tucsonmike on 25 November 2007 8:37pm
Oh Judy, LOL! Why men do not admit emotion. Let us put it this way. I was certainly raised not to, and now it is habit not to.

Living in the SW, especially in rural areas makes you quieter. Loud signifies anger here. The Mexicans I know tend to be soft spoken formal and discreet.

Also if you are emotional, you are playing your cards!;-)
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