Three Tips For Choosing Multi-Generational Housing

Whether it's to cut housing costs or simply to ensure your parents are cared for as they age, choosing the right house for multi-generational living is a must. The following tips can help you look at homes for sale with a critical eye so you find the one that is going to work perfectly for you.

Tip #1: Know your options

Multi-generational options are more than just a standard single-family home, with everyone getting their own bedroom but sharing the kitchen and other common areas. It is possible to give everyone their own space. One option is to look into multi-unit housing, such as duplexes. These homes are often sold as a package deal since they are on a single lot.

Another option is to look for homes with a guest house or mother-in-law suite. These are sometimes attached to the main house where they feature a small bedroom, living area, bathroom, and kitchenette. Others may be placed into a refinished garage, built as a separate detached building, or they may be a small apartment in a loft or basement.

Tip #2: Consider accessibility

Accessibility is a vital concern for the older members in a multi-generational household. You don't want to put aging mom and dad in an attic apartment if they can't climb stairs easily, unless you have a chair left installed in the home. Basement apartments can also be an issue, unless you find a home with a walk-out basement. The best option is to have the older generation in a ground floor or easily accessible portion of the home if mobility is an issue or may soon become an issue.

Tip #3: Plan for privacy

When looking at homes for sale, consider how the space both inside and outside can be carved up to provide both generations some privacy and autonomy. This can be as simple as ensuring that separate apartments within the main house have their own private entrance. Usually the older generation takes the smaller living quarters so the younger family can have more space. You may want to make sure it is possible to fence off the area around this separate entrance to the smaller quarters so that your parents can have their own private outdoor area to relax away from their kids and grandkids. Being able to have private space is key for making multi-generational living worthwhile.

Talk to your real estate agent about your plans for creating a family home for both your parents and your kids. They can help you find the perfect real estate in you area, or at least a property that can be made perfect with a few changes.