Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Purchasing a "Multi-Generational" Home

The Headlines:

Love Grandma?  Have a Favorite Aunt?

Maybe you should buy a home together?

It's called a Multi-generational home.

It's been a while since I've written.  Not sure if you've noticed but Real Estate has gone a little bonkers.  Because of that, as well as the other things life throws at a woman my age, in my "stage"... writing has taken a back seat.  Yes, I've been busier than ever in 2021 writing contracts, showing houses, negotiating deals... making dreams start at home.

It's pretty clear - People want to move.  This was bound to happen after COVID.  I wrote about it the minute we were all "locked in" last year.  We all hung out in our houses for a really long time.  Many of us... got sick of them.  Add that to record low inventories all over the country and you get what we're seeing now in the housing market.  Real Estate is cray.

I've had countless conversations with people who want to cash in on the market.  The problem?  They don't know where to go. There seem to be only 2 choices: either A) move to a new location/state where prices have remained lower than where they currently live or B) stay in your home.


But, there is one more option some families could potentially use...

Multi-Generational housing, by the way, has been going on forever in other countries.  But us Americans - like our space.  You  remember your Grandma?  She didn't want anything to do with moving in to your parents home.  But other cultures do it all the time and we're just now catching on.    

How does it work?  Of course there are many ways to go about this but essentially... Grandma has a home, she sells it, takes the money she gets from that sale and uses it to help a family member (son/daughter/niece) purchase the new, larger home that she can then live in with the core family.  Basically, you're pooling together more money to buy the home that will work for everyone.  Of course, specifically how this works out (dollars wise) - consult your family attorney, money manager, tax professional and/or mortgage broker.

According to a study done by Generation United,  multi-generational houses have increased 271% in the last 10 years - with more than 1 in 4 Americans living in this type of situation.  The reasons, according to GU, are many.  Not just purchasing a "new house".  In fact, that's just the off-set benefit.  Eldercare and child care are the leading reasons.  People need help with raising their family so they move in together.  Both at 34%.  Followed by job loss or unemployment, healthcare costs,  cultural expectations and education/retraining.  See the full article HERE

Living together with your extended family does indeed save money and can help that home upgrade... but there are strings.  

Here are 5 things to think about:

1. Grandma will need to be taken care of at a certain point.  

She may help now but that won't last forever.  My Mom came to live with me 2 years ago after my Father passed away and it was determined she had Alzheimers.  We did not move... (maybe should have)  We were going to build a casita on our property but then we decided maybe we would just buy a larger house.  Soon after, COVID hit.  We never left. 

I can handle her now - but for how long?  

2.  Bills, including food, electricity, etc... will be higher.

Who pays for that?  How is it split?  Remember college?  When you got mad at your roomie for eating your cookies?  Those days are gone.  Sharing is in full swing at multi-generational houses.  But define who pays for what up front. 

3. The core family will never be alone.  

The need to carve family time becomes important.  Grandpa may feel left out when you take just your two sons to dinner - but you have to... tell him that up front.  Make sure everyone understands the family "unit" still needs to be intact.  You're just changing the dynamics a bit.

4. Where will people spend their leisure time? 

Is there defined space in the new home?  Will Gram have her own "living room"?  Or does she have to share the kitchen?  Is her own room her main living area?  What about bathroom space? It doesn't matter what the arrangements are - just talk about them up front.

5. Parallel or Perpendicular family values? 

The main reason living with Mother/Father/Grandmother/Grandfather/Aunt/Uncle can be challenging is  simply: all adults have their own ideas on how things should "operate" in a household.  So, in a new house you purchase together - which rules, well, rule? 

Are you going to church every Sunday?  What constitutes "healthy eating"?  Is there a bed time?  How often and how late do we have guests over?  Bottom line, do your values line up?  And if they don't - can you agree to deal, talk, resolve?  This may be the most important point because living together is a big decision and you need to make sure everyone can do so.. in peace.  Otherwise, it doesn't matter how big that house is!!!

Finally Tonight,

I'm a proponent of Multi-Generational houses.  In a lot of cases it's the right thing to do for many reasons.  I am living that right now.  No doubt, it comes with its own set of challenges but there's no other way I'd have it.  There are so many positive things that can come out of the arrangement... (besides and in addition to getting a bigger/better home).  This time is precious.  It isn't here forever.  Maybe not even tomorrow.  For us, living with my Mom is a blessing. But it is not for everyone.  If living with your loved ones feels like an opportunity for love first and financial opportunity second...  you're on the right track.  

Let me know if  can help you and your family with a dream home of your own. 



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