One of the greatest gifts we have as a species is our imagination.
We can take ourselves to far away lands or ancient times.
We can invent a thousand different ways to solve our problems.
Or dream of days yet to come.
While our hopes and fantasies can sustain us in difficult times, what happens when those desires are destroyed by reality?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Hot-Cartographer-578 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for selling my late grandmother’s house against my brother’s wishes, despite his childhood dream of living there?”
A bit of background.
“Last year, my (33M) and my brother Ben’s (31M) grandmother passed away, leaving behind a reasonably large house in a small coastal town.”
“This house is the stuff of picture postcards — a lovely Victorian-era home with a view of the sea.”
“It has been in our family for generations, and it holds an immense amount of sentimental value for all of us, particularly for my younger brother, Ben (31M).”
“Since we were children, Ben has always been enchanted by that house. He’d spend hours exploring every nook and cranny, daydreaming about the life he’d lead there.”
“As we grew older, his dream never wavered — he wanted to live in that house.”
“When our grandmother’s will was read, it turned out she had left the house to me.”
“I was living in the city, happily settled with my own family and career.”
“Ben, on the other hand, was still living paycheck to paycheck, constantly in between jobs, and often borrowing money from our parents or me.”
“Seeing the state of the house after our grandmother’s passing, it was clear it needed serious renovation.”
“There were issues with the plumbing, the roof needed repairs, and the old wiring was a safety hazard.”
“All these renovations were necessary to make the house habitable, and they would cost a significant amount of money.”
“Money that Ben didn’t have and I wasn’t in a position to provide without jeopardizing my own family’s financial stability.”
The difficult choice.
“Taking all this into account, I deciding selling the house was the best option.”
“The housing market was favorable, and we stood to make a considerable profit from the sale. My plan was to split the money equally.”
“I wasn’t in dire need of all the money as we lived somewhat comfortable and this way.”
“Ben would have a substantial amount to clear his debts and could rent or even buy a smaller place where he could start afresh.”
“Ben proposed I sold the house to him at a considerably lower price than the market value.”
“I declined this offer as the amount he was offering was significantly less and almost all of his savings leaving very little left in terms of living costs and expenses.”
“I told him that it wasn’t a good idea for him, nor was it beneficial to me and my family, whereas selling it for a much higher value on the open market and splitting the money with him, meant we both walk away much more financially stable.”
“Ben was heartbroken and accused me of betraying him and selling off his dream.”
“I tried to explain my perspective, that it was for his own good, but he saw it as me being pragmatic at the cost of his feelings.”
“He stopped talking to me, and the rest of our family took his side saying I was selfish.”
“This whole situation has left me riddled with guilt.”
“I never wanted to upset Ben, but I genuinely believed — and still believe — that selling the house was in our best interest, especially his.”
OP was left to wonder,
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
“How much of a discount was he asking for? More than 50%…?”
“Made up numbers…”
“If your plan is to sell it for 100 coins and give your brother 50 of them, leaving you with 50.”
“You’d be in the same position if you sold it to your brother for 50. You’d have 50 coins and no house.”
“But he’d be happier.” ~ BreqsCousin
“I highly doubt that someone who has to borrow for month to month survival has enough saved to meet anywhere near 50% the market value of a house.” ~ err0r112
“That’s what I was thinking too.”
“Why not take off the money he would have given his brother from the sale as the discount and sell it to him for the rest.”
“It seems weirdly infantilizing of OP to paint this as doing it for his brother’s own good.” ~ noblestromana
Even Grandma couldn’t escape judgment.
“This is all on grandmother IMO.”
“She picked one grandchild and left it to them rather than the grandchild who had a greater sentimental attachment to the house.”
“I suspect she did that because she figured op was well off enough to pay for maintaining the house but as it wasn’t talked about beforehand it’s impossible to say.”
“OP shared the money from the sale with his siblings when he could have pocketed himself as the owner of the house imo he is definitely nta here.” ~ naraic-
“Grandma might just have a favorite. Idk.”
“My MIL tried to give a birdcage to my husband or his brother.”
“None of them have birds. The only one with a bird is their sister. She never mentioned giving it to the one person it would make sense to give it to.” ~ ClaudiaTale
“I also find it odd that a grandmother would give everything to one grandchild.”
“Who does that?”
“OP says nothing about the brother getting anything. He calls it ‘her estate’ but the brother gets nothing?”
“Im going with YTA.”
“Mainly because I think OP is not telling us everything and the only reason to leave something out is because it makes you look worse.”
“Even if he did have full ownership of the house, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.” ~ Unicorn_dreams42
Many had OP’s back.
“His brother would be giving all his savings to him so even if he did sell it, who do you think the brother will be going to go to when he needs money for the renovations?”
“Yes it sucks that he isn’t able to live there but it’s unrealistic and at the end of the day he doesn’t even have to split the money made from the sell and is doing more than is required of him.”
“NTA.” ~ Pedgebellie
“Probably will be blasted on this sub, but it’s your house.”
“Sure it was in your family for generations but keeping it when you don’t have the money to take care of it seems worse.”
“The house would have just been left in disarray, deteriorated, and cause problems later on.”
“Sure, your family had an emotional connect, but then maybe they could have contributed towards upkeep or buying it at market price.”
“It’s easy to criticize someone, difficult to be the one to take decisions.”
“Also, I won’t recommend giving anyone a share of the sale. It will either seem like ‘buying their appeasement’ or rewarding them for bad behaviour.”
“Regardless, your money, your decision.”
“Stop making a big deal of OP saying ‘for his own good’. It was not condescending.”
“Some people need to be protected from themselves, and OP was probably just trying to soften the blow.” ~ DitzyDoughnut
“It’s not your responsibility to fund your brother’s dream.”
“The family that thinks Ben deserves the house can certainly pitch in and help him buy it at market. Nobody’s stopping them from actually putting their words into action.”
“The only AH territory is where you say that you’re selling for his own good. You are not Ben’s custodian. It’s cool to look out for your brother, but that comment won’t be good for your relationship.” ~ pjeans
OP did return with some clarity.
“To clarify, Ben had offered around 30% of the market value. So me selling it to him would not have been the same for just splitting it 50/50.”
“Yes my brother did inherit other belongings, however value-wise, are much less than the house.”
“My grandma knew he wasn’t well off when it came to financial decisions and did not leave it to me with the intent of it being kept for generations (her words).”
Dreams can keep us going in dark times.
The important thing to remember is that not everyone shares the same dreams that you do and that every hope and each fantasy does need to be tempered with reality.
Never give up on the dream.
Just make sure you build some infrastructure to keep it floating.