Couple divided on real cost of fixer-upper

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Q: My husband is dead set on buying a fixer-upper for our first house -- he thinks he's going to somehow become handy once we buy a house, even though he's never actually done a home improvement project. I want a place that just needs paint and carpet, because I don't think he'll finish the projects he starts and I don't want to live in chaos in our new home. Do you have any advice for us? A: You have no idea how frequently home-buying couples clash over differing wants and needs -- situations just like yours have inspired me to develop something I call "the restroom conversation." When I first meet with a couple, we sit down and they both explain what they're looking for. Then, when one goes to the restroom, I press the other one to tell me what they really want, or to give me their deep-down reaction to the other's desire for a fixer, a houseboat, a geodesic dome or other unusual request. Mindset Management Buying a house impacts relationships similarly to having...