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Affordable, accommodating, accessible—these are just a few of the favorable attributes used to describe and explain the rising housing trend of multigenerational homes, which has become increasingly popular for a myriad of reasons. According to a Pew Research report, “a record 57 million Americans, or 18.1% of the population of the United States, lived in multigenerational family households in 2012, double the number who lived in such households in 1980.”

If you have clients interested in purchasing, building, or selling a multigenerational home, here are a few tips:

Know the family members and their needs. Multigenerational homes can accommodate several types of family members in one household: adult children, aging grandparents or elderly relatives, special-needs children, live-in nannies, home-based-business owners or immigrant family members. Before showing your clients different houses, sit down with them to determine how many will be living in the house and their individual needs or preferences. This will help determine the types of home layouts and features they may need, such as first-floor bedroom suites, private entrances, home offices, full bathrooms and guest houses.

Encourage open communication among the family. Challenges are inevitable when accommodating different lifestyles living under one roof. If your client is purchasing, it can be tough for families with different opinions to agree on important decisions like who is contributing to the finances or getting the master bedroom. That’s why it is key for families to be able to compromise, communicate and discuss expectations with family members beforehand. Encourage your client and their family to discuss boundaries, finances, the home layout and whether it makes sense to move or renovate a house first, to help make the transition go more smoothly.

Remind your clients of resale. If your client is interested in building or renovating a multigenerational home, remind them to keep in mind the resale value of their home. For example, adding an unattractive chair ramp to the home may turn off future buyers, and will cost them money if they have to remove it. Instead, encourage your clients to work with a good designer and architect to include universal and integrated designs – while keeping in mind potential buyers down the road.

Highlight key features when it’s time to sell. If your client is selling their multigenerational home, highlight features that may attract other multigenerational families when marketing their property. Homes with first-floor bedroom suites, multiple full bathrooms, private entrances and finished basements are all marketable assets that will standout to families looking to buy a multigenerational home.

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