Plan Well if You’re About to Become a Multigenerational Household

There are points to consider as you search for your new home if your family is part of the trend toward multigenerational housing.

Just in time for our upcoming evolution from quarantine, as we bemoan the social distancing that’s kept us from spending time with our extended families, comes a new ABC sitcom, Call Your Mother, starring Kyra Sedgwick.

In it, a woman in her late 40s moves across the country to become more involved in the lives of her adult children. Although she keeps her own apartment, it’s easy to imagine how more challenging financial circumstances would have them all living under one roof.

Increasing trend towards multigenerational housing

If that sounds familiar, it could be because your family’s part of a trend toward multigenerational housing. As noted by journalist Aimee Picchi in a recent USA Today column citing data from Generations United, there’s been a 10 percent increase in the number of extended families sharing homes since 2007.

Some reasons for this are especially apparent in 2021. In a struggling economy, young adults saddled with student loan debt might move in with their parents to save money.  Some of us in our 50s and 60s would rather have our parents live with us than in distant senior living communities. And some may decide to live with their adult children and/or parents as a way to strengthen family bonds. 

Meanwhile there’s the simple fact that Delaware’s a great place to live. Housing taxes are among the lowest in the nation and the hospitality-driven economy tends to be more resilient and prone to recovery. That translates to more jobs for 20-something kids who might share your home this summer and more social opportunities for ourselves and our aging parents year-round.

If you see any of these situations in your immediate future here are a few points to consider as you search for your new home:

Make sure you understand the rules and lifestyles of local 55+ communities. Are there regulations against having younger relatives living in your home for an extended period of time? Will it be easy for your parents to get around and make friends?

Make sure your dream house will be suited for sharing. Will your aging mom and dad need that first-floor master suite more than you, or simply be happier if you’re all on one level? And will you need to set up an office in a basement or an attic or some other extra space for family members who will continue working at home?

Consider a community’s value to your extended family. Are “amenities” that get you out of the house, such as community pools, walking trails and social activities, going to be especially important? What about proximity to mass transportation so you and your mom can hop on a bus to the beach instead of braving the summertime traffic?

Don’t forget your bottom line. As noted in this smartly written article by attorney Rebecca MacGregor, owning a multigenerational home comes with unique financial issues. 

There could be tax obligations if your kids or parents are contributing to the purchase. Or tax complications stemming from who’s paying the mortgage. Or challenges to ensure your wealth is distributed fairly among heirs you’re sharing the home with and those who aren’t. If your parents are contributing financially, consider whether they’ll have enough money to pay for nursing care or a transition to a long-term care residence without jeopardizing your ability to afford and stay in the home.

Resources Available

These are just a few considerations for your home search in Delaware’s diverse coastal and upstate and inland communities. When you visit the 55+ Communities and All Ages Communities at the Active Adults Realty® website, you’ll see many different Active Adult Communities. In Sussex County, these include Nassau Grove, Coastal Club and the Villages at Red Mill Pond. These communities aren’t age-restricted even though amenities such as lawn care and club houses certainly make it easier to enjoy fun times with your family and friends.

Let’s connect to find the best option for your family’s housing needs.