(How Close Is Too Close)
While you can’t choose your family, you can choose how close you live to them. A new survey suggests some healthy boundaries between parents and in-laws make for a happier family relationship — something to keep in mind when shopping for a home.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents in the survey from Ally Home, the direct-to-consumer mortgage arm of Ally Bank, say there should be at least some driving distance between where their parents and/or in-laws live and where they live. An even greater percentage of gen Z respondents (63 percent) — and millennials (62 percent) — felt some distance was important.
“We’re deep into the home buying season, and we’re seeing first-hand how excited consumers are to find and then be able to afford the home of their dreams,” says Glenn Brunker, mortgage executive with Ally Home. “But as Ally Home goes through that home-buying journey with them, it’s clear that there’s more than just the house and yard that go into making a home the right fit. Buyers are thinking through things like the neighborhood, school system, access to good hospitals, and yes, just how near or far they prefer to be to family.”
Other survey findings included:
• Call First Before Popping In: Thirty-seven percent of respondents agree family should not live close enough to just pop in and say hi. An even greater percentage of millennials — 42 percent don’t like the idea of the unannounced pop-in.
• Adults Need Their Own Space: Almost two-thirds of Americans say that while they love their adult children, they don’t want them living with them. Millennials don’t like how things are trending, either. They worry more than any other age group that at some point they will have their adult children, their parents or in-laws living with them.
• Proximity is a Top Stressor: The survey also presented respondents with a number of stress points and asked which ones ranked top when dealing with family. Thirty-eight percent of respondents named “living within five minutes of parents or in-laws” as their top stressor, out-ranking “cooking a complicated meal for a mother or mother-in-law” and “hosting family for the holidays.”
“Much of a person’s preference regarding location has to do with cultural norms, since extended families living together or nearby one another is common in certain cultures. But more often, having some physical distance between family can help create a healthy boundary. Ultimately, it’s up to family members to be open and honest about their own boundaries and what makes them most comfortable,” says William X. Kelly, a marriage and family therapist.
A good choice for a home is one that makes you happy. When shopping for a home, don’t forget to take the family factor into consideration.
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