My boyfriend’s brother lent me $6K to purchase a home 12 years in the past. It rose 128% in worth. How a lot further ought to I give him again?

I like studying your column, and listening to about all of the totally different features of economic questions, however now it’s my flip to ask to your recommendation. Twelve years in the past, my boyfriend’s brother lent us $6,000 to cowl closing prices on a house buy, plus a bit further for preliminary repairs. (If it’s related, the title and mortgage on the home are in my title solely, and my boyfriend and I’ve at all times stored separate financial institution accounts.)

‘No a part of this transaction was ever dedicated to paper, and the one occasional reference ever made to the association.’

Initially, as a result of the home was in horrible form, he considered the mortgage extra alongside the traces of an funding, and deliberate to proceed funding the required repairs and upgrades in return for a share of any improve in worth. Shortly after lending us the cash, nonetheless, he purchased his own residence and instructed us he wouldn’t be capable to finance any additional renovations.

After I refinanced the mortgage a yr and a half later, I supplied to pay him again, however since he knew we had been within the technique of renovating and my boyfriend wasn’t making as a lot cash as he was accustomed to due to some critical well being issues he was experiencing on the time, he mentioned to only maintain onto the cash, and we might pay it again at one other time.

No a part of this transaction was ever dedicated to paper, and the one occasional reference ever made to the association since then has been throughout visits to our residence, after we generally jokingly check with him as a shareholder who’s subsequently entitled to his personal room (our one visitor room) whereas different relations must accept a sofa or get a lodge room after we host a big household occasion.

Now, 12 years later, we stay in a considerably improved residence, and with low mortgage charges all over the place, I’m getting ready to refinance and use the cash to repay the present mortgage, plus the house fairness mortgage I took out seven years in the past, to make varied residence enhancements.

‘Curiosity was by no means mentioned, nor do I’ve any thought what, if any, expectations he has concerning any development in his funding.’

I purchased the home for $125,000 and it’s now value roughly $285,000, with a complete owed of $185,000. I knowledgeable my boyfriend’s brother in regards to the plan and, this time, once I supplied to pay him again out of the additional funds left over from the refi, he accepted, leaving me at a complete loss about how a lot to pay him over and above the preliminary $6,000.

Evidently, curiosity was by no means mentioned, nor do I’ve any thought what, if any, expectations he has concerning any development in his “funding.” He’s clearly a really trusting and beneficiant individual, so even when I had been to ask him what he thinks a good fee of return could be, I’m sure he would inform me to only give him no matter I believe is correct. Any steerage you possibly can give me could be tremendously appreciated.


Now It’s My Flip to Be Beneficiant

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Dear Generous,

Let’s leave aside the “investment” angle as I don’t see any scenario where someone, even a beloved relative, loans $6,000 to help with closing costs and renovations and receives an equity stake in the house in return. That seems like an overreach in terms of the status of this gesture.

I’m glad that you all remain close, but I would be remiss if I did not gently chastise you for not putting this loan on paper. What if you had split from your boyfriend? Or if his brother suddenly needed dough that you didn’t have? There are so many ways where this could have gone horribly wrong.

But we almost have a happy ending. That $6,000 would have a purchasing power of nearly $7,500 today. Your house would have appreciated in value over those 12 years, but we are not sure whether you would have managed it without his help, and he was in no hurry to get it back.

I also see the argument for, “What if he had invested the $6,000 in the stock market in 2009?” But he didn’t do that, and we don’t know whether he would have invested it anywhere during this time, wisely or otherwise. It’s also easy to be generous with other people’s money.

On that note, $10,000 seems like a handsome and generous figure to settle upon — or $12,000, but only if you can absolutely afford it. Whatever you decide, do it over a nice dinner, with a card, and explain that you appreciate him trusting you, and helping to make this house purchase possible.

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