Author Topic: Thoughts on Generational Homes?  (Read 5461 times)

sleepyguy

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Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« on: March 27, 2014, 07:52:34 AM »
We are considering this as it keeps us close to her parents and they can be close with their grand kids.

What is a Generational Home?

Well generally it's 2 or 3 generations under a single roof, but the house is split (like a rental unit) in 2 entirely separate 'inner houses'.  Areas that are shared are usually the garage/lawn/patio.  Water/gas/electrical is all shared.  Separate kitchen/bath/rooms/etc.

Examples are

http://houseplans.co/house-plans/collections/multigenerational-houseplans/


Housing is super expensive in GTA/Toronto, and getting 2 close together at a decent price is nearly impossible, this is why we thought of doing this.  We have a decent budget ($400k-500k land + $300-400k build).  Plus side is we both would end up being mortgage free with some equity to play with (for both us and her parents).

Anyone living in this setup?  Pros Cons?

Looking forward to some thoughts.

MayDay

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2014, 07:57:49 AM »
I think I would want separate water/gas/electric so that it can be used as a duplex in the future if needed. More flexible, better resale.

In general I am a fan if you can stand living near them. I couldn't do it with my in laws, but I could with my own parents.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2014, 08:14:59 AM »
I think I would want separate water/gas/electric so that it can be used as a duplex in the future if needed. More flexible, better resale.

In general I am a fan if you can stand living near them. I couldn't do it with my in laws, but I could with my own parents.


+1^ I am not the real-estate Guru but i agree that it would best to look at any investment long term . Having said that I too would want to add separate utilities as mentioned.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2014, 08:18:59 AM »
I don't think most of the Americans will fully understand but being a Canadian-American myself I know what you mean and I think it's worth doing.

I've got several families doing this in Brampton and Mississuaga areas. Most of them have $700k-1.2m homes that have more than enough space for everyone.

the 1.2m home accommodates a set of parents, 3 married couples, and a baby. there is plenty of extra space and if they wanted they could easily make their basement a rental. they are going to use it for play room, pool table, bar, entertaining area.

I often wish I could move back to Canada and do this myself but I just can't deal with the winters here anymore. I'm currently in Toronto and can't believe how cold it still is.


cynthia1848

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 08:22:52 AM »
I think it's a great idea if everyone gets along.  Otherwise, not so much.  A lot of the old double- and triple-deckers in BOS and environs were/are set up this way with multiple generations.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2014, 08:47:52 AM »
The dollar amount involved is insane to me. That's almost double my entire FIRE number. What about relocating to a cheaper area?

That aside, keeping utilities separate is a good plan, though how would this cash flow as a rental?

I'd personally do a trial run in your current house for at least a year. Make sure the personalities work before committing that much money. Some people dig it, others don't. It all depends, but there's only one way to know.

I've seen threads here about in laws that moved closer to see grand kids but things either didn't work out, or they actually saw each other less despite the physical proximity.

MicroRN

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2014, 09:15:56 AM »
It's a great idea in theory, but you'd have to have the right type of relationship and good boundaries for it to work.  A duplex-type setup would work better than sharing a house, I think but it might still be too much.  Much as I love my in-laws, living that close to them would drive me nuts.  Same goes for my parents.  OTOH, I have friends where the wife's mom moved in with them following a divorce and everyone seems to love it.  She watches the kids, and they all get along great. 

lizzzi

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2014, 09:22:13 AM »
Some quick thoughts, as my family always lived like this, and we still do, although the players have changed as the great-grands and grands have died off. We are actually in two separate houses around the corner from each other, as we could not find a two-family in this area big enough for seven people and guests/live-in health aides when needed, etc. Historically, the family has either lived in duplexes, or a property that had two houses on one lot. I agree with everybody who recommends separate utilities. Also, you need to have good boundaries in terms of not getting too involved with personal "stuff." At the moment, my daughter and s-i-l are having some marriage concerns, and I don't touch any of that with a bargepole. I also find that as a grandma myself now taking care of a very fragile, senile grandpa, and also having some grandchildren responsibilities, I have to be very firm in what I can and can't do, or I get taken advantage of big time in terms of childcare. (Not that I don't love them, but hey, I'm only one person, and being an Alzheimers caregiver keeps me busy just doing that.)  Having said that, it is a godsend to have a son-in-law who, if he's around, will snowblow the drive or help pick up grandpa if he falls and I can't get him up. There is a built-in social life in terms of holidays,  birthdays, etc. And between both our houses, we can accommodate other sick, elderly relatives if we need to help out, or our preacher cousin who in bad weather needs to stay near her church, which is around the corner from us.  So, a mixed bag, kind of like the Waltons of the New Millennium, just not so goody-goody and schmaltzy.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2014, 09:34:37 AM »
I partially disagree with separate utilities. I pay $75/month for basic hook ups. Costs that are mandatory if I want access to water or electricity. $900/year per place.

Over 10 years that's $9,000 people are recommending you spend to have separate utilities. If its sold as a generational home I would discount your home as being inefficient. I would buy the neighbours that has cheaper monthly bills.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2014, 09:40:56 AM »
I LOVE this idea but have no personal experience with it.

lizzzi, sounds like there is good and bad (thanks for the helpful and realistic description!) but overall I still really think I would like it!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2014, 11:10:18 AM »
I partially disagree with separate utilities. I pay $75/month for basic hook ups. Costs that are mandatory if I want access to water or electricity. $900/year per place.

Over 10 years that's $9,000 people are recommending you spend to have separate utilities. If its sold as a generational home I would discount your home as being inefficient. I would buy the neighbours that has cheaper monthly bills.

Good point!

rubybeth

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2014, 11:19:17 AM »
My parents have a house somewhat designed to work with this kind of set-up, if needed. My dad literally designed the house himself to be very handicap-friendly, and also work in case they wanted to rent out the lower level at some point. This also worked extremely well for me and my sister since we lived at home during undergrad (and me for grad school), so separate spaces kept the peace. The lower level was basically 'ours' with our own bedrooms, bathroom, and living room. We went upstairs to the kitchen for food, but could be really separate from parents (really nice during high school/college years).

It's a bi-level home, about 2,000 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 2 full baths, with main entries on a mid level, which also has the laundry space, so easily accessible by upstairs or downstairs. Downstairs is also pretty much a mirror image of upstairs, but without the kitchen (hookups are in place, though). He also added a parking pad just next to the garage, so 4 cars can easily park without any shuffling needed (no street parking in winter).

I have to say, I really admire my dad's vision. DH and I have talked about the possibility of moving in with them in a pinch/crises, or even just as they age, to go ahead and add in that kitchen and be on hand in case they need us.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 11:27:09 AM by rubybeth »

Mega

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2014, 11:36:24 AM »
Have newborn (31hours) on chest, so may have bad grammer:

Live in Burlington. You do not have enough money for a lot and build a house big enough if you are staying in Oakville. Where you work?

Why you want to live together? You have young kids? What is motivation?

Most important:
What does your spouse think of idea?

I know someone who built a custom home in Mississauga for just this purpose... And then moved out because her in laws were selfish. (E.g expected to live there free, and have ppl make food / pay for their cable, net, cell, etc)

My parents built an inlaw suite to their home in the outskirts of Brantford so she could be near them. It was good. I was like 16, sister 9. I enjoyed having them around. Both passed after about 7 years. Now the house is WAY to big as both kids have/are moved out. So now my parents want to sell. (Beautify custom home on 3 (?) Acres backing on to a conservation area. Was great as a kid). Living in separate areas was goos, inlaw suite was 1 floor so it was easy to provide care when mobility became a problem.

Some homes have 2 master bedrooms (like mine). Can you handle living together full time?

Where do you live now? Some lot sizes permit the addition of an accessory dwelling.

You could buy an existing duplex. Does location matter?

I couldn't live with my in laws, too bossy & judgemental. (MIL was and still is angry that we bought used baby clothes... And keeps bringing it up)

TL:DR- Is arrangement compatible for both spouses? After that, decide based on your requirements, keeping in mind that you will likely have to sell the place at somepoint.

TrMama

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2014, 11:38:14 AM »
We're doing this. We live on the Wet Coast of Canada where "suited" houses and multiple generations living in them are normal. In fact, we bought the house with the express purpose of moving MIL into the suite so we could look after her more easily as her health deteriorates.

Financially, DH and I own the house. When MIL sold her condo she gave us most of the proceeds and we used them to make a lump sum payment on the mortgage (which was otherwise causing us to lose sleep it was so huge). She has also chosen to contribute monthly to the utilities (which I think is too much, but part of living in a group is knowing when to shut up about something). In exchange, she'll live with us for the rest of her life. If we have to move, she comes with us and we'd find a similar living arrangement. She's never been good with money, so the never ending up in huge debt or on the street part is good for all of us.

It works because the house is basically a duplex. We can go for days and not even see each other. It's also really nice to have some built in support for both parties. Really, really nice. The utilities are shared and frankly, shared utilities are the least of the potential problems with this kind of arrangement. If you're worried about an extra $20 on your electric bill, this set up is not going to work for your group.

dcheesi

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2014, 12:17:18 PM »
My parents' house has a spare bedroom next to the garage with a separate entrance. Some years ago they added a bathroom as well. Only thing it's missing is a kitchen.

My brother is living there now, which has worked out pretty well for everyone. He needed a cheap place for a while; they needed help around the house. No kids anywhere so that makes it easier.

sleepyguy

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2014, 11:19:43 PM »
Unfortunately Toronto/GTA has insane prices... nothing can do about it.  SO/DW works about 30mins out of the city and I work in downtown Toronto.  Both our families are in Toronto as well.

I get along with her parents fine, actually probably better than my parents, lol!

Interesting ideas about separate utilities, we'll probably have to think about that more.

The dollar amount involved is insane to me. That's almost double my entire FIRE number. What about relocating to a cheaper area?

That aside, keeping utilities separate is a good plan, though how would this cash flow as a rental?

I'd personally do a trial run in your current house for at least a year. Make sure the personalities work before committing that much money. Some people dig it, others don't. It all depends, but there's only one way to know.

I've seen threads here about in laws that moved closer to see grand kids but things either didn't work out, or they actually saw each other less despite the physical proximity.

sleepyguy

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2014, 11:24:42 PM »
Yeah, generally that's how we would view it.  Relationship wise we're all fine.  Currently her mom is taking care of our son while we're working (woot save $1500/mth, lol).  I'm already doing almost all those things for her dad (shovel, home maintenence, etc) so now I just would be easier for instead of driving over :)

Some quick thoughts, as my family always lived like this, and we still do, although the players have changed as the great-grands and grands have died off. We are actually in two separate houses around the corner from each other, as we could not find a two-family in this area big enough for seven people and guests/live-in health aides when needed, etc. Historically, the family has either lived in duplexes, or a property that had two houses on one lot. I agree with everybody who recommends separate utilities. Also, you need to have good boundaries in terms of not getting too involved with personal "stuff." At the moment, my daughter and s-i-l are having some marriage concerns, and I don't touch any of that with a bargepole. I also find that as a grandma myself now taking care of a very fragile, senile grandpa, and also having some grandchildren responsibilities, I have to be very firm in what I can and can't do, or I get taken advantage of big time in terms of childcare. (Not that I don't love them, but hey, I'm only one person, and being an Alzheimers caregiver keeps me busy just doing that.)  Having said that, it is a godsend to have a son-in-law who, if he's around, will snowblow the drive or help pick up grandpa if he falls and I can't get him up. There is a built-in social life in terms of holidays,  birthdays, etc. And between both our houses, we can accommodate other sick, elderly relatives if we need to help out, or our preacher cousin who in bad weather needs to stay near her church, which is around the corner from us.  So, a mixed bag, kind of like the Waltons of the New Millennium, just not so goody-goody and schmaltzy.

sleepyguy

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2014, 11:38:58 PM »
Congrats on the newborn!   We have a 6mth old and a 2.5 yr old :)

For sure $1mil won't cut in Oakville, i know I lived there 7yrs... boy is it expensive!  Our old reno'ed bungalow there is like $600k now, kinda crazy.

We are looking in Scarborough/Pickering area... still quite expensive in the nicer areas.

To answer;

Why you want to live together?
- support/care for her parents as the get older
- have our kids have a close relationship with their grandparents
- her mom is taking care of our son at the moment and will be for our daughter as well (maybe not as we maybe FIRE at that point)
- her parents have said their house is too big, they are getting older and always want to be close to their kids/grandkids

You have young kids?
- 2 kids, 2yr old son and 6mth old daughter

What is motivation?
- funny enough it's not financial at all.
- it's all of the above i mentioned.

Most important:
What does your spouse think of idea?
- it was her idea, I wanted to buy an old 1400 sq/ft bungalow and reno it at my pace... hopefully at a very low price and then invest the profits of our home in Oakville.  I'm always open to any ideas though.

We currently have a decent lot in Oakville but unfortunatley we were shy like 5ft to build a 2nd home on the lot (yes our yard is quite big). 

Location is a big deal, if no kids or family around... I would personally life on a lakeside at a cottage :)  Maybe once the kids leave the next, who knows.

Tks again everyone for their input, we have quite a bit to consider!


Have newborn (31hours) on chest, so may have bad grammer:

Live in Burlington. You do not have enough money for a lot and build a house big enough if you are staying in Oakville. Where you work?

Why you want to live together? You have young kids? What is motivation?

Most important:
What does your spouse think of idea?

I know someone who built a custom home in Mississauga for just this purpose... And then moved out because her in laws were selfish. (E.g expected to live there free, and have ppl make food / pay for their cable, net, cell, etc)

My parents built an inlaw suite to their home in the outskirts of Brantford so she could be near them. It was good. I was like 16, sister 9. I enjoyed having them around. Both passed after about 7 years. Now the house is WAY to big as both kids have/are moved out. So now my parents want to sell. (Beautify custom home on 3 (?) Acres backing on to a conservation area. Was great as a kid). Living in separate areas was goos, inlaw suite was 1 floor so it was easy to provide care when mobility became a problem.

Some homes have 2 master bedrooms (like mine). Can you handle living together full time?

Where do you live now? Some lot sizes permit the addition of an accessory dwelling.

You could buy an existing duplex. Does location matter?

I couldn't live with my in laws, too bossy & judgemental. (MIL was and still is angry that we bought used baby clothes... And keeps bringing it up)

TL:DR- Is arrangement compatible for both spouses? After that, decide based on your requirements, keeping in mind that you will likely have to sell the place at somepoint.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 11:46:03 PM by sleepyguy »

totoro

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Re: Thoughts on Generational Homes?
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2014, 05:55:49 AM »
I bought a triplex so that the kids could live with here too if they choose to as adults.  Housing prices are really high where I live and I'm willing to provide care for grandchildren so it might work that way some day.  My mom might also move in to one of the suites at some point in the future - probably not for ten years or so though. 

What I observed growing up was that large families from India moved to my town and lived together.  Within one generation they had moved from poverty/immigrant status to very well off while working at labour type jobs.  No-one needed to worry about childcare or pay for it and the elderly did not get left alone.  The potential for things not working out is there, but I think it is pretty smart.

As far as separate utilities, imo you should not do this unless you plan on renting to third parties as was pointed out by others.  The reason is that you pay for hook-ups and you pay extra monthly charges which really add up over a number of years.  If it is legal, get separate meters installed in the future if you plan to rent it out.