I’m 29 and I’ve moved in with my boyfriend at his parents’ home whilst we save for a house. I know it’s really kind of them to let us stay rent free, but I’m starting to lose my mind.
It’s been 3 months and, at the beginning, it was fine. It was sweet that they cooked dinner for us every night. Now it feels suffocating. My mother-in-law does all my washing and even folds my knickers. I didn’t ask her to do it and I don’t really want her rummaging through my underwear! Our sex life has fallen off a cliff (we’re in my boyfriend’s old bedroom, it’s right next to his parents room and still has his old posters of Kelly Brook on the walls). I feel like we’ve regressed to being teenagers again.
I can’t fully relax and I’m not sure I can cope much longer. My boyfriend doesn’t understand why I’m struggling. He’s thrilled to have his mum fussing over him.
Should I stay or should I tell my boyfriend we need to get our own place?
Yours, Hiding in my Room
Dear Hiding in my Room Ok, let me get this straight. You’re living rent free, with all your meals cooked and your washing done? You do realise that people pay good money for this?
You are living in an all-inclusive hotel. Sweet sister, you need to suck up your feelings and develop an attitude of gratitude pronto. You’re living the dream!
Now, I’m only half joking. Sure, I can feel the awkward claustrophobia. It’s hard going from seeing your in-laws on high days and holidays, to living together 24/7. I get it. When we visit our partner’s parents, we’re always on our best behaviour. We’re perky and charming and delightful. We regale them with witty stories about their beloved son or daughter.
Impossible to keep up that level of effort for more than a few days. So I’m guessing your ‘perfect partner’ mask has slipped? The ‘rents have seen you in your full cranky, sulky, boring or annoying self. You’re in their house, they get to observe your real relationship with their offspring and you’d better believe they’re judging you.
That must feel exhausting. I get why you may not feel fully relaxed. But, let’s be honest, we’re talking discomfort here, not deep pain. And you need to calculate what that little bit of discomfort is worth to you. Because being able to live rent free to save for a deposit is a gift.
We ran your numbers through Homefinder and here’s what you can afford: With combined salaries of £54,000, you could get a mortgage of up to £189,000 (3.5x your joint salaries).
Based on a 10% deposit, you could afford up to a £210,000 property, which would be perfect, as that means you stay under the lowest stamp duty band, so you only pay 2% stamp duty.
That’s a really good budget for a 2 bed flat in Nottingham city centre (2 beds range from around £140k to £220k), and we’d recommend aiming for somewhere in the middle of that range. A £175,000 property target.
So… if you were to aim for a £175k property price, you would need to save a total of £21,500 to cover your deposit, stamp duty and a budget of £3,000 for solicitors costs, surveys and fees. You’ve already managed to save £8,000 between you, so you need another £13,500. That’s your savings’ target.