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What to Look for in a Multi-Generational Home

Multigenerational family members on a couch looking at tablets

By Anica Oaks

More extended families are choosing to live together temporarily or permanently. Reasons include caregiving for children as well as seniors and budget trimming for generations who share the same household. Whatever the reason may be, multi-generational homes are in demand and increasing in value. Here are some characteristics to look for when you plan on sharing a house with older or younger relatives.

Personal Space

Each member of the family will likely want a private bedroom, although couples will share a room, and children may as well. In addition, each generation may enjoy different leisure activities that will require an area where other family members won’t be bothered. For example, college students will need a study space, while seniors might need a place to nap during the day. Entertainment areas are also important. Map out the specific parts of a home that each generation will need when you begin shopping for a house. Video games, reading areas, and television use are activities that may need specific parts of the home to be enjoyed.

Adequate Room

When you view or tour homes that seem to have distinctive areas for each generation’s needs. check to see if the rooms and spaces are large enough for their intended purpose. For example, designating a finished basement area as the teens’ recreation space might work, but if the area is small, the kids will probably come upstairs to spread out and to get snacks or use the bathroom. An extra bedroom set apart as a home office should be big enough to accommodate your workspace as well as equipment and supplies along with products, if necessary. Food storage pantries or cupboards should be evaluated to see if there is room for different kinds of food items eaten by each family member. If there will be several income sources from relatives sharing a house, you may be able to look at luxury homes in your price range to get everything that you want in a house.

Extra Bathrooms

With two or more generations represented in your home, you can never have too many bathrooms. Each generation may have its own grooming needs and preferences, such as a shower versus a bathtub or a toilet versus a bidet. People of different ages may spend more time in the restroom if they have health issues or take additional time to get ready for the day.

Parking Area

Check out the parking options for each property you visit. Decide in advance whether a two-car garage will be sufficient, or if more parking space in a driveway or on the street will be required for family occupants or their guests.

 

Discuss each person’s household needs before you start looking for a multi-generational home. That will help to avoid disagreements and delays when you find a house to suit everyone.

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