During the Great Recession, the term “multi-generational home” probably turned some people off, conjuring images of student loan debt-ridden Millennials slinking back home to their parents’ basements amid a horrific job market.
But multi-generational homes mean much more than that—and can have a lot of value for some families. In fact, it’s common in some cultures for families to live together, particularly as a way to respect and care for the elderly and to ensure a familial bond. In the U.S., the number of multigenerational households continues to rise with no signs of slowing, according to Pew Research Center.
Multi-generational homes can take several forms, but the most common is for the homeowners’ parents. But building your home with the multi-generational aspect in mind can be beneficial in providing flexibility for whatever life throws at you and your family—as a way to save money, to support young adult children, or perhaps to care for an infirmed sibling.
Here are a few things to consider:
Multi-Generational Homes Allow You to Pool Your Resources
Is your dream home out of reach financially? It might not be. With the ability to leverage the incomes and equity of two or more families, you’ll share the cost of some of your must-have features—such as a water view—to build a wonderful place to live.
Multi-Generation Doesn’t Require Crowding
Some of the objection to multi-generational living scenarios is the belief that everyone will be in each other’s space and business 24/7. With good design, that doesn’t have to be the case. A separate ADU is one option, but for better economy of scale, you can design the home with separate wings—each with its own bedroom, sitting room, bathroom, and entrance—and a central communal space in between. This ensures each family segment has its own space to do with what they want and to remain as private as they wish.
To truly elevate the wing concept, we can incorporate extra soundproofing and insulation, along with separate heating and cooling zones. A wet bar with microwave is an ideal addition, as well. And because this is a custom home, each wing can have its own unique design with the features, styles, and elements that family segment wants most.
Consider the Footprint
If you’re considering a multi-generational home, keep in mind that the footprint of the home may be a little larger, particularly since single-floor living is likely to be ideal in most cases. This will impact your land purchase. Consulting with a builder like Estes when considering properties can help determine if the parcel has enough space to accommodate the home’s layout while still meeting requirements for setback, septic, etc.
Plan Now to Be Flexible Later
Even if the home you’re about to build doesn’t need to be multigenerational now, consider what the future might bring for your forever home. Do you have aging parents? Are you planning to age in place and hope your children will move in to take care of you? Do you live in a desirable area where friends or family might love to work remote for months at a time?
Working with an Estes Builder designer can help you design a layout with flexible space that could accommodate those new living situations while still serving a purpose—such as an office or media room—in the meantime.