Is A Multi-Generational Home Right for You?

Multi-generational living is on the rise. It’s not unusual for grandparents, parents, and children to live under the same roof. Fourteen percent of all home buyers over the last year were motivated to purchase a home to accommodate multiple generations in their family, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. There are many reasons for this, with financial reasons being at the top of the list. But is multi-generational living right for you? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of living in the same home with several generations of one family.

PROS of Multi-Generational Living

Economic Benefits – for many people, financial savings is at the top of the list of benefits. Family members can combine incomes to purchase a home that will accommodate them with one mortgage payment. They can often purchase a larger, more suitable home together than purchasing smaller homes separately. They can share household expenses, such as utility costs, meals and grocery items, and furnishings. Living together can reduce overall family expenses for better quality of living.

Help with Childcare – With most households requiring both parents to work, having grandparents in-house eliminates daycare and childcare expenses. They can offer after-school care, help with transportation to and from school, and driving to sporting events or music lessons. Playing with young children, or offering homework help to older children, offers support to the parents as well as to the children. It not only cuts down on costs and time commitments for the parents, but allows for grandparents and grandchildren to spend time together.

Caregiving to Aging Parents – For many adult children, they worry about their aging parents’ quality of life from safety to financial stress to socialization. Living together allows an adult child to make sure their parents are receiving quality nutrition and healthcare, lots of interaction and love instead of isolation, plus a lower financial burden. Aging parents don’t have to worry about home maintenance or lawn care, but can live comfortably with the support of their children and grandchildren.

Shared Household Responsibilities – Household chores pile up quickly for families from cooking and dishes to laundry and cleaning. With one house to share and many hands to help, chores and responsibilities can be divided up according to ability. Each member of the family can pitch in to do what they are able to. One may enjoy grocery shopping and cooking while another may like to mow the yard and garden. Sharing household responsibilities lightens the load all around.

Closeness & Companionship – One of the benefits to sharing a home between generations is the close family relationships that can be maintained. Milestones like birthdays and anniversaries can be celebrated together. Play time with little ones can be enjoyed with grandparents, or shooting hoops with teenagers and the whole family. There are shoulders to cry on, encouraging words to be given, and simply having family to do everyday life with.

CONS of Multi-Generational Living

Less Privacy – If you are used to a lot of quiet time or “me” time, combining your family into one house can feel a bit overwhelming. There will be more people around and less privacy. There will be more noise with TVs on, music playing, conversations, etc. You may like an early bedtime while the teenagers stay up late playing video games. You may like your morning coffee before talking to anyone while Grandpa is ready to talk about the weather. Setting boundaries and having a private space for each family member, such as a bedroom, is especially important.

More housework – With more people comes more housework! Chances are you will have a larger house, which requires more cleaning time. There will be loads of laundry, lots of grocery shopping and meal planning to do, plus all the cooking and dishes. And, whose turn is it to empty the dishwasher? It will take planning and scheduling to get everything done. Each member will have to take responsibility so the majority of the work doesn’t fall on one person. A written schedule may be helpful, but in any case, the amount of housework will need everyone pitching in to help.

Need for Renovations – Finding the perfect home that’s move-in ready and accommodates your entire multi-generational family may be impossible to find. Unless you’re building a custom home, most likely you will need to make renovations. These could include adding a walk-in shower for your elderly parent, finishing the basement so the kids have a play area, or even putting on an addition with an extra bedroom and bathroom. Plan to find a suitable house that you can renovate into exactly what you need.

Tension & Disagreements – Anytime you live together with someone, whether your college roommate or your teenager, expect some bumps in the road. Everyone has different opinions, can get cranky or stressed sometimes, and disagreements can pop up. If large decisions have to be made, you could have several adults who each want it done a different way. Who will ultimately call the shots? Not only do you have to live together, but you want to keep good relationships with your family. Have a plan in place in case you need help resolving any tension or disagreements. 

Finding a home that has the space and privacy to accommodate a multi-generational family can be challenging, especially with today’s low inventory. Some people are choosing to build a new home, renovate a walk-out basement by adding living quarters, or put an addition on an existing home. If you can get past finding the right home to accommodate everyone, you may find living with multi-generations meets everyone’s needs. Only you can determine if the pros of living with children, parents, and grandparents outweighs the cons.

If you have questions about finding a multi-generational home, please reach out! We can find the right property for your family.


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