It’s recently been reported that multigenerational home buying is on the rise. According to the New York Times, 64 million Americans are living in homes where there are adults of at least two generations. This is double the number of people doing it in 1950.
There is a variety of reasons for this. One big reason is tied to the price of housing in cities these days. It can also be immigrants wishing to keep the family unit intact. It is also a way for families to save money on childcare (or even language classes) as well as avoid the high cost of long-term senior care. It can even be a simple as enabling grandparents and grandchildren to share time together, creating memories and lessons that will last a lifetime for the youngest generation.
It’s wise to have a plan if you do this
There are a number of issues that should be addressed before you start house hunting. Housemate issues apply to anyone living under the same roof, and addressing these ahead of time is a great way to set ground rules. Here are a few tips that may help start the conversation:
Make a list of priorities and rank them: Have a frank discussion of the kind of property you want (single home, duplex or triplex), location, parking, and other factors. Make a list of what is necessary, what is nice to have and what is an absolute no-no.
Create a legal contract: Treat this as a couple would a prenuptial agreement and set some clear lines about ownership, financial arrangements, and how bills are paid. This can reduce stress and conflict later. Also, make sure it has a contingency in case someone dies or moves out.
Find a broker who understands:House hunting is a hard job, so make sure that your realtor understands what you are looking for, including possible handicap access or other priorities.
Work with a real estate attorney:Along with writing up that prenup, attorneys provide many valuable services. These include making sure the title is clean and effectively handling all the necessary paperwork. They have the experience to often see sticking points and can ensure no one is taking advantage of you and your family.