Multigenerational households, households that have three families, children, parents and grandparents living together full-time under the same roof, are becoming more and more prevalent. In fact, the Pew Research Center tells us that in 2016, 20% of all households in America, or 64M people, were living in multigenerational households. Those percentages and numbers have clearly increased in 2018
The 2016 Pew data reflects “…a record number of people…” living in multigenerational households, according to D’Vera Cohn, a senior writer/editor with the Pew Research Center. Just seven years prior, 17% or 51.5M people were living in multigenerational households.
Multiple generations melding into one home makes sense as we continue to live longer and redefine the nature of family in a world of soaring housing and health care costs.
You as a real estate agent are here to help such multigenerational families as they try to figure out how to expand a too small house to include everyone, how to pay for an expanded house and how to live together semi-seamlessly in a housing situation with day-in, day-out togetherness.
If it’s possible, multigenerational families might consider buying and living in a bigger house that would accommodate everyone while renting out the smaller house that someone within these generations owns. When the children move out or someone passes, the bigger house could be sold and everyone would then move back into the smaller house. Money from the sale of the bigger house could be used to renovate the smaller house.
The main level of the house could be converted/expanded to include a bedroom, adjoining bath and sitting room for an elder couple. If one of those elders has dementia, all those living spaces could be replicated with the same wall colors, window sizes, styles, trims, photos, etc. of the elder couple’s other home so the person wouldn’t be lost or confused.
If there is a basement, it could be converted into a bedroom and bath for an elder couple and/or person. If there is a second floor, it could have a master bedroom and bath plus one or two additional bedrooms and Jack & Jill bathroom for the family with one or two kids under 18 years.
The structural modifications such as installing grab bars on bathroom walls and eliminating raised transitions between rooms, trip hazards in shower areas and limiting stair usage as much as possible are additional things to think about.
In such multigenerational households, communal areas like the kitchen, dining room and living room become focal points of the house. Those focal points translate into “togetherness” places for everyone. When someone wants privacy, they go to their own space.
Certainly sacrifices are inevitable in multigenerational households. But aren’t sacrifices inevitable in every household? Navigating finances, design and emotions is an art and art is an ongoing process.