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Make Multi-Generational Living Work for Your Family: 3 Things to Consider When Searching for a Home that Fits Everyone

In recent months, college kids have unexpectedly returned home, bedrooms have quickly turned into office spaces, and grandma has had to stay in your guest room a little bit longer than your patience probably allows to help out with homeschooling. This got us thinking about multi-generational living, homes with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) features, and why people are jumping on board!

What if grandma and grandpa didn’t have to kick your middle-schooler out of her bunkbed? What if they had their own suite? Imagine how much happier your college student would be if they had their own basement or garage apartment that maintains their “rightful” level of independence at this time in their life. Everyone’s family dynamic is different, but rising housing costs, family culture, and even uncertainty of what the future holds may be enough to give multi-generational living a second look.

When searching for a home with multi-generational features, it is best to find an agent that can help you navigate specific criteria within the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database. Here are a few things to consider before starting your search:

  1. Do you anticipate more kids coming home in the near future and does your current home have a desirable layout that accommodates that movement?
    • Currently, almost 900 residential properties in the MLS have finished rooms over the garage; 75 of them are actually garage apartments that some may consider for additional residual income. A grad or younger millennial may happily pay a couple hundred dollars to have their own entry while still having access to their parent’s pantry whenever they need it.
  2. When considering living spaces for grandparents, are you looking for completely separate living area or shared sinks, family breakfasts, and movie nights?
    • That answer may help you determine whether you are in search of one of the 2,800 homes with a master bedroom on the first floor or if you should be focusing on the 280 properties for sale right now that have in-law suites. If you are in it for the long haul, a full in-law suite with independent living areas and small kitchenettes may be the winner. No amount of searching for homes on the internet is going to find that for you, but a licensed Hampton Roads agent can.
  3. Do you anticipate a family member needing handicap access or equipment in the next 5 years? And, if so, to what extent? Or, are you looking to find your dream home where you can age in place?
    • Over 1,000 residential properties have some form of handicap or accessibility feature. Adaptable cabinets, curbless showers, elevators, grab bars, level flooring, and lowered countertops are a few home features that may be nice to have when you move in.

Finding a home that makes everyone in your family happy can be challenging but is achievable. Work with one of our 8,000 agents to narrow down what you and your loved ones need. If it’s a question of what you can afford, check out our mortgage calculator to help estimate your monthly payments. For local listings you can trust, start with REIN.com.

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