Dear Lifetise: I can’t stand living with my boyfriend’s parents

Dear Lifetise  

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.

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What £175k buys you in Nottingham City Centre
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What you’re saving by living with his parents
You would pay around £600 a month to rent a 1-bed flat in the centre of Nottingham. Add on food and utilities and you would be looking at around £900 a month. So that is £900 that you can put aside each month towards your savings’ target. HUGE! .
If you save that £900 each month from now, you could afford to buy your own place in January 2020. Yes, I know that seems like a long way away, so here are a couple of things you can do to speed it up:
1. Each of you open up a Lifetime ISA and with the extra money that the government gives you, that could pull forward your purchase date to October 2019! That’s only a year from now!
2. Cut down on things like nights out and clothes. If you can save just an extra £100 a month (so £1,000/month in total), then you shave an extra month off your purchase date and you could move in September next year.
If you choose to rent your own place
Let’s say you decide you really can’t take it and you move out. If you can find a cheaper rental place, you’ll still be looking at spending £500 a month on rent, plus that £300 on bills. But we’ll assume that you’re so happy to be alone together, that you stay in most nights and save what you can (maybe £300 a month).
At that rate, it will take you until July 2021 to buy your own place (and that assumes you both take out a Lifetime ISA, otherwise it’s July 2022).
So putting up with the parents means a 1 year wait, instead of a nearly 3 year wait!! Even if you ultimately decide you can’t stick it for another 12 months, and you need your own space, remind yourself that every month that you stay with the folks is approximately a month closer to buying your own place. That’s a pretty good incentive to stay there as long as you can stay sane.
Good luck!
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Dear Lifetise, I can't stand living with my boyfriend's parents
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