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What to Look for in Buying a Home for Multi-Generational Living

One of the latest trends in real estate is the need for a larger home. It used to be that people wanted a bigger place because they were starting a family or the kids were at the age where they really needed their own rooms. The reason that many Austin homeowners are looking for more space today is often spurred by the growth in multi-generational living. According to recent statistics provided by the Pew Research Center, 21.6 percent of adults age 24 to 36 are living in multi-generational households. It was at an all-time high of 27.7 percent in 1940, and an all-time low of 11 percent in 1980. The number of multi-generational families living together under one roof has been increasing ever since. This growing trend is leading more and more Americans to move into bigger homes. Some are college graduates and single parents making the adjustment for financial reasons, while others are moving in with adult children due to health limitations.

There are several different factors involved that drive homebuyers with plans for joining forces with family members.

Space
There needs to be enough space for family members to have some independence while still making a home together. Look for large homes with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms. Luxury homes in Austin are an option for those want the extra amenities for comfort or necessity. For example, garage space for everyone who drives meets convenience and safety concerns. A hot tub or spa provides comfort and convenience for those with osteoarthritis or body aches. For quite some time, adding a mother-in-law suite to an existing home has been a popular trend. More homes built in the past few years include a home-within-a-home or an in-law suite. More of these homes are filtering into the Austin real estate market, which is ideal for families looking for a home with enough space for everyone to be comfortable.

Levels
While some families need a single level, others crave the separation of a two-story or three-story home. A ranch-style house with everything on one level makes it easier for parents with toddlers to keep them safe. Families with teens might want to put a noisy teen on an opposite end of the house, rather than over the family room where people are trying to watch TV. For homes with seniors, the real concern of walking up and down the stairs safely is a consideration. On the other hand, college graduates living at home again might prefer an upstairs bedroom as a getaway. Single adult children or older parents still a ways from the classification of senior might prefer an in-law suite detached from the house or might be only too happy to help purchase a home with a front room over the garage (FROG).

Cost
While buying a larger home at first glance might seem counter-productive to saving money, consider the fact that the current mortgage on a larger or luxury home is probably still less than two or three parties paying rent or a mortgage for their own places. Factor in the shared food, utilities and transportation, and the concept of multiple generations in one house to save money starts to make more sense. Having family members provide daycare cuts down on expenses further.

Relationships
While living in a multi-generational home isn’t ideal for everyone, it can be beneficial for those open to it. Note that 48 percent of those answering the Pew Research survey said that living with their parents at this stage of their lives has made no difference in their family relationship, and another 25 percent said their relationships were good.

Finding the right Austin home is also an important part of making it work. If you’re interested in crunching some numbers, use our York Real Estate mortgage calculator or call our office for further assistance.

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