Considerations when purchasing a multi-generational home

By Ryan C. Benton

Multigenerational homes are on the rise.

According to a recent Pew Research Center report, a record 60.6 million Americans live in multigenerational households. Additionally, according to the National Association of Realtors, 12% of homebuyers in 2018 bought a multigenerational home.

Technically, any home with parents and kids under one roof is considered a multigenerational home. But, in this case, I’m defining multigenerational homes as homes with more than one adult generation living in it. This could be adult children returning to live with parents post-college or aging parents moving into their adult child’s home.

While multigenerational living is very beneficial, it can be difficult finding a home that can match the needs of families.

Here are a few things to consider when purchasing a home for multigenerational living:

Take everyone’s wants and needs into account: On paper, multigenerational homes provide solutions to several problems.

In reality, however, two generations in one home can feel cramped. It’s best to have everyone compile their needs and discuss together before executing plans so that expectations can be met.

You’ll want to make sure that the home has features that will support your lifestyle as a family. Take time to look at the bathroom-to-bedroom ratio, storage and yard space. Don’t forget to think about the driveway and parking spaces.

When there are sufficient amenities for everyone, the household is more likely to run smoothly.

How much privacy does the home offer? Living in a multigenerational home presents an opportunity to spend more time with your loved ones. While this can strengthen family bonds, the loss of privacy can wear on the best of relationships.

Be sure to think about how private you can make the living spaces so each family member has their independence.

Can an existing home be remodeled? There are times when renovating is the best way to create the perfect living space for your family. You can either consider updating your current home or buying a home with plans to fix it up immediately.

Keep in mind an in-law suite addition is a major investment. According to Remodeling magazine, an owner’s suite addition averages nearly $80,000. That includes a 384-square-foot addition with a bedroom, bathroom and walk-in closet.

As with any renovation project, you must be careful about over-improving your home compared to other homes in your neighborhood. An in-law suite addition can easily cause your home to be the most expensive on the block, making it more difficult to sell later on.

Should you purchase a new-construction home? There are endless options when it comes to building new. Right now, several builders in Hampton Roads are offering options specifically for multigenerational families.

Some designs include multiple “owner’s” bedrooms, and others feature in-law suites with their own bathroom, bedroom and kitchenette. All the options offer plenty of privacy space for everyone. Your Realtor can make specific recommendations for new homes communities.

Although demand for multigenerational homes is likely to stay consistent, talking to a professional Realtor about your specific situation can help you make smart decisions to realize the most value for your money.

Ultimately, though, this isn’t just a dollars-and-cents decision. Taking care of family is the right thing to do, regardless of how it will affect the value of your home — and that’s a decision only you can make.

Ryan C. Benton is a Realtor with Rose & Womble Realty in Chesapeake and a member of the Hampton Roads Realtors Association. For more on HRRA, go to Contact Benton at 757-544-0383 or, or visit