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Bringing all Generations Together

Although your home may have been housing a traditional family of a mom, dad and two kids, savvy real estate agents will tell you that in order to attract more buyers, staging your house as one fit for multi-generations is the way to go.

            More parents and grandparents are finding a need to move in with family, as many can no longer afford the increasing rates of the adult communities where they once lived. Furthermore, the economic climate is forcing many kids to return home once their schooling is done.

            A recent multi-generational study conducted by the Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C., revealed that multigenerational living has been on the rise over the past decade, fueled by demographic and cultural shifts.

            “One of the things that struck me about this change is that it’s coming from all directions,” said Paul Taylor, author of the report. “More young adults are moving back home, more elderly are moving in with their middle-age children and more middle-aged children are moving back with their elderly parents.”

            Data from the study shows that in the 10-year span between 2000 and 2009, the number of households practicing multi-generational living increased to 33 percent, with more than 49 million Americans currently living in homes with three or more generations.

            Real estate professionals are tending to highlight features such as finished walkout basements and bonus bedrooms today more than ever. That’s why when your agent tells you that switching out your office or transposing the basement play area to one that resembles more of a bedroom is the way to go, you should be listening.

            When selling your home, you need to look at the process from the perspective of all buyers, not just yours. Consider how a multigenerational family might use the various spaces available, and give prospective homebuyers options to easily transform from single-family to multigenerational living.

            Therefore, any home that contains bonus space is a viable candidate for a multigenerational buyer who’s planning to bring an ill or out-of-work family member back into the fold.

            Experts agree that intergenerational living is easier when each family subunit has its own space. “Everyone who is going to share the home should have a private area of their own,” said Amy Goyer, a multigenerational expert at AARP. “It is best if there is more than one common area so that children and adults have spaces to relax in without everyone having to spend all their free time in the same room together.”

            Multigenerational house design can be applied to just one structure or can be accomplished with two or three units to keep families together while preserving their independence and privacy.

            According to Cam Marston, author and founder of the research firm Generational Insight, there are a number of benefits for different generations of a family living together. “It’s less expensive, obviously, but more importantly, they can learn from one another,” Marston said. “Separating generations keeps them aloof from the trends and important things impacting each generation. When they are all under one roof, they can grow up sooner and stay young longer. It works on both ends of the generations.”

            Another thing for home sellers to consider when it comes to attracting multigenerational buyers is the home’s accessibility for people who might be living with aging parents who use wheel chairs or walkers.

            Creating a complete, accessible living space on one level with safety features can make a home attractive to people of all ages.

Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 3:33 PM by George Dlugosh

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