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May 11, 2017
 |  by
Jake Kostelyk

Multi-Generational Living is The Next Big Thing

Multi Generational Living is the next big thing.

What is Multi-Generational living? We view it as at least two generations of adult families living on one property, or under one roof. 

To say that “Multi-Generational” living is growing in popularity is an understatement. Five years ago, we would receive enquiries about “Multi-Generational” projects a few times a year.  This year, roughly 1/3 of the families calling us are planning multi-generational projects. The reasons behind each project are unique;

-       Parents have a home that they’ve raised their kids in, yet no longer need the space but don’t want to leave. Their son or daughter (who are now married, perhaps with kids of their own) wouldn’t be able to afford a home anything close to what their parents have, and would love to live in their parents’ home. They’re considering renovating some of the house into a suite for the parents, and the “kids” live in the main living space.

-       Aging parents aren’t able to live independently anymore, due to health issues. One of their children want to renovate their home to allow their parents to age in place, and offer support as their parents age in the comfort of a home.

-       “Grandpa and Grandma” like to travel, and when they’re around, they want to be near their young grandchildren. They hope to partner with their son or daughter  to either build a new home with a suite for them, or buy an old home and renovate.

The real estate market in the Lower Mainland is one of the most expensive in Canada. Inventory of quality homes for sale is low, and prices are high. Living with two families under one roof is one way to enjoy living in a great neighborhood that wouldn’t be feasible any other way.

Personally, I am in the middle of a renovation of my own home. We’re renovating a bright and spacious walk-out basement “in law suite” for my wife’s parents to live in. Don’t worry, we’re adding MANY layers of sound insulation to quiet the noise that my 4 young children will inevitably make.

We’re not the only ones, and perhaps you’re considering “going multi-generational” in your living arrangement.  What steps should you take to assess if this is the right move for you?  Perhaps ask yourselves the following questions:

1.    Are we able to live with family, and keep relationships healthy and intact?

2.    What happens if we want to move?

3.    What are the benefits of living Multi-Generationally for our unique situation? What are the drawbacks?

4.    Do you want fully independent suites? Shared space? Who gets the garage and yard?

Once you’ve contemplated these questions, look at the feasibility of what’s possible. Financially, what makes sense? Does your home (or targeted neighborhood) have zoning or municipal restrictions on suites, do they allow laneways, etc?

We’re advocates of pooling resources, efforts and energy to live multi-generationally, but it needs to be the right fit.

If you’re considering a multi-generational living arrangement, it’s worth asking the tough questions, doing homework on feasibility, and doing the homework to determine if it’s the right fit. Have questions?  Can we help? Feel free to reach out! And if you decide to “go multi-generational”, be sure to budget for a bigger kitchen table!