Flipping the Switch with Your Parents

Multi-generational households are becoming more commonplace. I call it, “flipping the switch.” Used to be, parents took care of us; now, more and more often, we’re taking care of the parents.

Anecdotally, this trend is on the rise. More and more of my clients are identifying either “I want a place for mom/dad, mom & dad to come stay/live with us” either because they’re getting older or because the grandparents want to spend extended periods of time with the grandkids.

From personal experience, having parents who are ready, willing, and able to watch/care for kids, often at the drop of a hat, is extraordinarily, unquantifiably valuable. Having a mom who is a practicing Realtor who intimately understands the struggles and demands of the real estate profession.

Having kids, and parents within close proximity, has made me better as a Realtor, as one who guides, coaches and advises clients who either don’t have kids (yet) or are contemplating moving to be closer to parents. In the Charlottesville area, I’ve found that “close” usually means less than 22 minutes. Farther may be too far, closer may be too close for comfort, 🙂

What might a “parent suite” look like?

Ideally, fewer steps than are absolutely necessary, wider doorways, maybe zero-entry shower, ability to separate oneself from the rest of the family … privacy, for all. Some want a separate kitchen, some are good with a (biggish) bedroom and nice bathroom. It really depends.

Universal Design is easy; it just takes planning. Start at page 33 of this magazine for some more information on UD.

 

Looking at some data from the recently-released NAR’s 2015 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers Survey

The multi-generational market segment looks fairly stable. In my practice and in conversations with colleagues, the trend is increasing. (There is so much useful information in this report.)

Thirty-seven percent of all buyers had children under the age of 18 living at home, up from 35 percent last year. Thirteen per- cent of home buyers purchased a multi-generational home—a home that had adult siblings, adult children over the age of 18, parents, and/or grandparents in the household. The top three reasons for purchasing a multi-generational home was to take care of aging parents (21 percent), cost savings (15 percent), and children over the age of 18 moving back home (11 percent).

In 2014:

Thirty-five percent of recent buyers had children under the age of 18 in the household. Thirteen percent of recent buyers purchased a home for a multi-generational household—a home that had adult siblings, adult children over the age of 18, parents, and or grandparents in the household. One-quarter of these homes were bought for cost savings and an additional 23 percent due to children over the age of 18 moving back into the home. Eighteen percent of multi-generational households purchased this household type because of health and caretaking of aging parents, while one in ten purchased this type of home to spend more time with aging parents.

In 2013:

Forty percent of recent buyers had children under the age of 18 in the household. Fourteen percent of recent buyers purchased a home for a multi-generational household—a home that had adult siblings, adult children over the age of 18, parents, and/or grandparents in the household. One- quarter of these homes were bought because children over the age of 18 were moving back into the home and for cost savings. One in five multi-generational households purchased this household type because of health and caretaking of aging parents, while one in ten purchased this type of home to spend more time with aging parents.

 

Annoyingly, (my) google searches for images labeled for reuse yield mainly wheelchair-focused images; Universal Design isn’t just about that.

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3 Comments

  1. oliver platts-mills December 3, 2015 at 09:41

    Thanks for this info Jim, very interesting. I’m curious if you have seen an uptick in folks looking for houses that already have an accessory unit (in the yard, basement, etc.)? This could be for renting long or short-term, as an office or for parents/family visiting? I believe the city was hoping more accessory units would be built when they passed regulations allowing them but I’m curious if the demand is there for buyers or what buyers think when they find one on a property?

    Reply
    1. Jim Duncan December 4, 2015 at 09:12

      I have; this is becoming more of a target for many folks who want that accessory space for either parents/grown kids and now, AirBnB.

      Two challenges we’re seeing are 1) some HOAs have restrictions against short term rentals and 2) those buying these new need to qualify for the total purchase, and then rent out that space and reap the benefits.

      Generally, the response to the AU is positive. So long as the buyers can afford it.

      Reply
  2. Pingback: Sharing the Home Buying Experience - RealCentralVA.com

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