Help us get rid of this house!
October 2, 2012 6:58 AM Subscribe
We have an old, unlived in house that is disintegrating. We need help fixing it up, emptying the junk out of it and selling it. We are overwhelmed and find it hard to face this problem. Advice needed.
posted by anonymous to human relations (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I am asking this for my parents. They are both retired.
They own a large Victorian house at the end of a suburban dead end street in upstate New York. It hasn’t been lived in for about two years. My parents are both suffering from various illnesses and disabilities, and have not been able to list the house or even get it ready to be sold. It is full of furniture and junk. It is slowly disintegrating. Part of the roof inside is falling in, and there is a hole in the cellar wall into the space beneath the porch where an animal must have dug through. Both of them are very overwhelmed with the prospect of dealing with this house, and I want to help them if I can.
As problems tend to do, this one is coming to a head now. For some reason the water has been turned off. My father suspects that there was some sort of water leak and therefore the city shut the water down. My parents received no notification of any problems. If the water does not get turned on and the pipes fixed before winter, there is a possibility that the pipes will freeze and that will result in a much bigger problem.
My father does not want to let anyone know that the house is uninhabited, because that will cause them to lose insurance on the house. It will also start the ball rolling on a lot of paperwork, fines and possible work on the house by order of the city. I suspect the city already knows that no one is living there. They must notice that no electricity and water is being used. But they have not sent any notices to my parents about it.
My parents see the situation with the house as a huge, enormous problem that they can’t even begin to solve and don’t want to even face. Depression plays a big part in it. They want to salvage many items from this house, but won’t face even going over there to start that process. I had a conversation with my father today about the house. As a result of his depression he tends to catastrophize things. He is also under a lot of stress lately dealing with various other issues. I tried to help him list all the things we need to do to solve this problem but every time I ask him a question he says, “I don’t know.” I am not a homeowner and I am unfamiliar with how a lot of this works.
We live only 10 minutes away from it. They are thinking of going to Florida in a couple of weeks for a month or so. They may not go if this house can’t be dealt with. My parents do have a fair amount of money to throw at this, but they aren’t super rich. They have paid to have the yard kept up in the summer and the snow plowed in the winter.
I’d like advice to handle the situation with the house. Maybe a list of steps to take to get the water turned on, the pipes fixed, the junk removed (with their items salvaged), the house fixed up and listed for sale. If the steps involved are too much for them, I even thought that a sort of “project manager” could come on board to help manage taking care of the problem.
Also, advice on how to help them (and me) face this problem and not feel totally intimidated by it would also be welcome. I know this is a big problem with many parts. I apologize for that, but would appreciate at least some help starting to fix it.
[Side note: I am talking to my father about seeing a doctor and/or therapist to get his depression under control. He is not easily persuaded but we are working on it.]
If you have any questions you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.