It was recently reported in the New York Times that 64 million Americans live in multigenerational households, which is double the number it was 50 years ago. The reasons for doing this are many, including saving on the cost of care for the young and elderly and the rising cost of real estate. Of course, there is unique chance of the elderly and young to share time together, creating special memories that grandchildren will have for a lifetime.
There are, however, some matters that should be addressed before everyone moves in together. After all, roommate issues can apply to anyone living under the same roof, not just college buddies. There are also financial issues to consider as well. Here are some tips if you are considering this kind of arrangement.
Talk with the family
Have an honest conversation among the adults. Even sharing a duplex or triplex will still mean there will be very thin boundaries between the two homes. Also, discuss the priorities and make a list for: what is necessary, what would be nice to have and what is absolutely not wanted. Potential areas of discussion include location, off street parking or garage, architecture and other important details.
Create a housing prenup
This should outline how the home is paid for, how expenses will be handled as well as what happens if someone dies or moves out. The idea here is that, like a marital prenup, it is best to determine how finances are managed ahead of time so it does not later result in undue stress.
Find a broker that understands the your circumstances
Most real estate agents are adept at addressing the needs of their clients. But the circumstances for multigenerational housing means they will have to find a property that fits the needs of more than one or two adults.
Work with an attorney to handle the transaction
An attorney can help with the paperwork and the other details of the closing. This includes coordinating with the sellers, their real estate broker, title companies, appraisal companies and insurance companies. An attorney with experience handling real estate transactions can help ensure the closing goes smoothly and avoids unnecessary issues that should have been addressed ahead of time. They can even draft that aforementioned "housing prenup" for the family to sign.