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6 Pros & Cons of Living in a Multigenerational Home

Posted by Justin Havre on Wednesday, October 5th, 2022 at 7:20am.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Multigenerational Homes?

Living situations can be complex and are ever-changing: co-living culture has taken off in recent years, and the ability to rent rooms in the short term has grown with the internet. Multigenerational homes, however, represent a combination of the old and the new, providing a viable and comfortable living situation for people with different circumstances.

You've likely heard of a multi-family home, a free-standing building containing multiple units intended for different tenants — usually families. In other words, three different families may live in one multi-family home, each in a self-contained unit within the building. Meanwhile, multigenerational homes refer to a single residence or other building that houses multiple generations of adults, all in the same unit. The most common examples of multigenerational homes include adult children living with their parents or grandparents.

Multigenerational homes come in many sizes and configurations. These may be houses that have separate apartments in a basement or backyard. It could also be a home with multiple kitchens, entrances, and separate living rooms. These properties offer several practical advantages to their residents, including potential cost savings, shared duties, and improved familial relationships.

The Benefits of Living in a Multigenerational Home

When considering a place to live, it's essential to take a close look at the advantages of a particular home. What positives can you expect from sharing a house with adult family members of a different generation?

Shared Living Expenses

One of the significant advantages of a multigenerational house is shared living expenses. Several costs accompany homeownership, including the mortgage, property taxes, insurance, maintenance, homeowners' association fees, and utilities. With more adults earning a living, these costs can be split, improving finances and cash flow. Living expenses and utilities may be higher with more people in the home, but mortgages, taxes, and HOAs aren't based on occupancy.

Affordable Child/Adult Care

Childcare is a significant expense for many households, especially those with children too young to attend school. The average cost of childcare in Canada is approximately $10,000 a year, and finding someone you trust to watch your children can be challenging. The cost and concerns associated with caring for aging relatives are similar.

Multigenerational households may eliminate most, if not all, of these costs by sharing the responsibilities among other family members. Even if you offer to pay a family member to provide care, you'll likely spend less money than you would on daycare, in-home care, or assisted living facilities.

Strengthened Relationships & Family Time

Families Living Together Can More Easily Have Family Time

There are benefits of multigenerational households that go beyond financial. Adults and children benefit from spending significant time with multiple generations. Older people can sometimes suffer from feelings of loneliness and isolation. Being around children, in particular, can help with cognitive function, energy, and physical health.

Similarly, children of all ages benefit from being close to older relatives. Language development, literacy, civic engagement, goal setting, and empathy are some of the positives associated with growing up with grandparents. Living with family members of other generations helps with bonding, self-esteem, and a sense of belonging.

Disadvantages of Living in a Multigenerational Home

While the benefits of multigenerational households are compelling, you should also consider some potential challenges. Think about some short- and long-term changes that would occur while living with adult children or parents.

Less Privacy

Although having more people around can improve relationships, it can also present significant obstacles, such as a lack of privacy. Having time and space to yourself is essential, but this isn't easy when sharing a residence with more people than usual.

Respect between family members is important, so you'll need to find ways to establish boundaries. Creating dedicated spaces for solitude can be helpful in a multigenerational home. Think about a basement, study, or exterior building where individuals can escape. If you're contemplating a new construction home, look for floor plans with added privacy.

More Noise

With more people around, noise is sure to increase. Consider also that older adults may be more sensitive to the volume of energetic young children. Older children sometimes enjoy listening to music or playing video games at higher volumes.

Thinking about ways to manage noise in a multigenerational household is crucial. Creating designated areas for play and enjoying music and entertainment can help. Invest in noise-cancelling headphones, ear plugs, or sound-dampening drapery to control the transfer of sound in rooms.

Experience Living in a Multigenerational Home Today

Sharing a house with your adult children or parents can be a win-win situation for everyone involved. It can strengthen bonds across generations, improving quality of life. Over the past two decades, multigenerational homes have increased by over 50% in Canada, mainly contributing to aging populations and rising living costs. Cutting living expenses and reducing care costs are two significant financial benefits of multigenerational households.

Think about the features of an existing or new residence conducive to a multigenerational household. Designated private spaces and noise management can help offset some of the disadvantages of this living situation, including less privacy and more noise. Remember that respect and boundaries are critical in establishing and maintaining a happy multigenerational home.

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