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Multi-generational homes – are they big enough?

Published Apr 17, 2020 – 4 mins read

For a family with young children – or one with children who cannot afford to leave home – buying a house has become something more than a challenge. The elderly may be able to afford it but living on their own spells loneliness and isolation. With the help of a house buying agent, however, this familiar circle may become one you are finally able to square.

Sharing a house – living in a multi-generational home – might offer the ideal way of satisfying the needs of both the young and the old. A multi-generational home certainly seems to be a solution which appears to work well for a number of families. Professional property finders may offer just the help you need in locating and buying just the right home suitable for three generations to share.

Not only does multi-generational home-sharing seem to suit those interviewed by the Guardian, but figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also bear out its increasing popularity. The ONS has previously revealed that the number of three-generation households in the UK had risen from 325,000 in 2001 to 419,000 in 2013.

The benefits of multi-generational living

Multi-generational living means that no member of the family may ever feel alone. That is good news for older members of the family, of course, who might otherwise face days of solitude and isolation of living on their own.

By living together as part of the same extended family, however, it is that much easier to keep an eye on the older members.

But having more elderly members of the family around on a more or less constant basis also has its benefits when it comes to childcare. No one is suggesting they assume the role of a full-time parent, but older family members might provide an occasional invaluable role as childminders – or as babysitters to allow young parents a well-earned night out.

There are also likely to be economic benefits too – relative savings may be made on the costs of council tax, utilities and internet for one household instead of separate ones.

The potential disadvantages of multi-generational living

Whenever you are contemplating any home-sharing, one of the immediate worries is whether everyone is going to get on.

Within an extended family, of course, there may be less reason for concern since all of its members are already known to each other. But it remains an open question whether everyone will continue to get along as younger members grow up and the family dynamic steadily – or abruptly – changes.

If the home you buy is to be jointly owned by adult members of the multi-generational home, it is likely to be more challenging to find the most competitive or favourable mortgage deals.

This is especially the case given the reluctance of some mortgage lenders to advance loans to those over the age of, say, 70 or 75.

For those buying a multi-generational home together with relatives, it appears that mortgage lenders may be taking a kinder attitude towards loans which reach full term when the borrower is between 80 and 84 years old. It points to the fact that in 2014 there were no mortgages at all which reached full term when the borrower was aged 80 to 84, but that by 2019 there are 1,078 mortgage products.

With respect to securing the mortgage deal appropriate for your own extended family’s circumstances, it is essential to remember that a professional house buying agent is going to be involved in every aspect of your search for a suitable home – and that includes identifying and negotiating the terms of any mortgage you may need.

What to consider when buying a multi-generational home

Property finders – or any house buying agent you instruct – are also going to consider several key factors determining the suitability of multi-generational living:

Size

  • the size of the home, of course, is critical – it needs to be big enough to accommodate however many there are of each generation;
  • that is likely to be a question not only of the absolute size of the house but the extent to which it offers personal space to each family member – especially when it comes to different age groups wanting to entertain their own friends;
  • no one suggests that there is never going to be any friction between different parts of the family, but a few ground rules should probably be established to ensure multi-generational living can work;

Transport links

  • whatever type of property suits the needs of your extended multi-generational family, it is worth giving serious attention to the accessibility of close transport links;
  • young and not so young need to get about – and, preferably, under their own steam;
  • this not only encourages and promotes their own sense of independence but also relieves car-driving members of the family from the otherwise endless role of taxi-driver;

Finances

  • serious conversations need to be held in advance about finances for the extended unit – how are all the household bills, such as the mortgage, utilities, and food, going to get paid;
  • however, those responsibilities are shared, and whatever the proportion each adult takes on, it is essential that contributions are made by standing order every month into a common account for household expenditure;
  • making wills, tax planning and setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney will also be prudent.

Summary

Multi-generational living provides an alternative way of organising the family home for an increasing number of people – with benefits accruing to each of the generations living under the same roof.

Of course, the property you choose needs to be suitable for the needs of a multi-generational household and a house buying agent brings professionalism and expertise to your quest for such a property.

Property finders such as these make exhaustive and extensive searches on your behalf, including having access to off-market properties. The searches are guided entirely in the way you have specified, and you may rest assured that every enquiry and every aspect of their investigation and negotiation is conducted with the utmost respect for your privacy and confidentiality.

If that is the service you are looking for and want to find a home for your own multi-generational family, give us a call today, we will be delighted to help.