Dear Abby: In-laws offer sweet deal for home… with a catch

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I am a newlywed. My husband and I are looking for a house to settle down in, but we’re struggling to find one we like that we can afford. My in-laws, who are moving, offered to sell us their house for a very generous price. The house is in a great neighborhood, but it’s old and outdated and has HVAC and plumbing problems.

I think the house would be the perfect place for my husband and me to raise a family if we had some renovations made. However, we have talked to my in-laws about this, and they are very attached to this house and very against having any renovations made to it. My husband is happy to buy it and not have the renovations made, but I’m not so sure. What should I do?

Jeanne Phillips

— House Hunter in California

Dear House Hunter: You and your husband should talk with your in-laws together. While I understand their sentimental attachment to the house, they are being unrealistic and controlling. If they were to sell it to strangers, you can bet the first thing that would happen would be renovations. HVAC, plumbing, electrical and roof problems cost a fortune to keep fixing over time if they are not dealt with. Don’t they want their grandchildren raised in a nice, safe home in a great neighborhood? If the answer is yes, they need to loosen the reins. If not, then you should keep looking.

Dear Abby: I’m a veteran with a nonservice-connected back injury. I need artificial discs between several vertebrae. The hospitals and clinics ignored my condition for the past 25 years. I will have an MRI soon. My fiancee is a nurse and does not have the money for the operation I need. A wealthy female friend has offered to fund it. Should I ask my fiancee for permission since this friend is a woman?

— Getting a Chance in Oklahoma

Dear Getting: You should definitely clear it with your fiancee. If she loves you, she will agree that you are fortunate to have such a generous friend. However, if she’s insecure, you will then have to decide which is more important — your health or your relationship. I know which one I’d choose.

Dear Abby: My college-age daughter who still lives with me is addicted to caffeine. I am considering slowly replacing the regular coffee with decaf without telling her. I don’t want to tell her, as this may get in her head, and she may react by having withdrawal symptoms. I don’t think she would be angry, because she knows I am always looking out for her. What do you think?

— Mom with a Plan

Dear Mom: Quit being a helicopter barista. Have enough respect for your college-age daughter to tell her the amount of coffee she consumes is a concern for you. Then ask if she would like your help to cut back. Withdrawal symptoms from caffeine are real, and your daughter might wonder what’s wrong when she experiences symptoms of withdrawal if you keep her in the dark.

Contact Dear Abby at