To Buy with Family or Not To Buy with Family? That is the question.
by Real Estate Sales Representative Rebecca Johnson
There are a variety of reasons why people choose to purchase a home with their immediate family or in-laws. Multiple generations living under the same roof can help ease finances every month as there are more adults contributing to the bills. It also helps to be close to parents as they get older and need additional care. But whatever your reasons are for all living together, there can be some hiccups. Let’s be honest – at some point you will probably get on each other’s nerves, and there will be times when you all need more privacy or independence! When I’m showing homes to potential families that are looking to co-habitate I stress how important it is that the home needs to meet everyones needs in order to be a win win situation.
Here are some of the top important ways you can make living with family easier for everyone:
1. House Rules
Before moving in together, it’s a good idea to talk about what the new arrangement is going to look like. Come up with some basic ground rules for everyone. Will household chores & maintenance be shared equally? How will regular purchases like groceries and toiletries be divided up? Discussing monies can be a sensitive subject and if the running costs of the home are to be shared it is very important to have all parties present to decide how that will be done. Do not leave anything up to assumption. If you start off on the right foot it will make for an easier environment. Coming up with a strong plan of how responsibilities will be divided up is imperative.
When shopping for a home that meets your extended family’s needs, it’s important to consider private areas. Will there be an inlaw suite that is physically separate from the main living space? If your parents/inlaws have their own living quarters with separate kitchen/bathroom/living spaces will that be a benefit? Or will there be a lot of shared space that everyone makes use of on a daily basis? Having private areas where you and your spouse can retreat to without being disturbed by everyone else is essential, even if it’s just a master bedroom away from the rest of the living areas.
3. Growing Pains!
Remember that everyone’s lifestyles are different. Some may be used to eating dinner in front of the tv every day, while others prefer to sit down with family around the table. There will be a transition period after you all move in together where you’re getting into a rhythm and getting used to each other’s habits. I always tell my clients this is normal and to be expected, so go easy on each other!
There can be some great benefits to living together. You can all save money and help each other. When you’re working late, perhaps your mother/mother-in-law will cook dinner. Maybe your father/father-in-law will fix the dishwasher or pick up the kids from school. Maybe date night for you and your spouse can become a weekly event considering you have live-in babysitters! Things certainly are easier if the family/in-laws are able-bodied and can pitch in. It will also give them purpose which is known to extend their lifespan and contribute to mental wellbeing. The biggest positive is that you all soon become a tight knit family.
I have had the pleasure and the stress living with my in-laws as we were fortunate enough to have a home that provided us with our own bathrooms, kitchen and family rooms, but we made a point of dining together every evening. It’s only now that I can say that the time spent with them has strengthened our relationship and my daughter has many found memories that she will forever carry with her, long after they are no longer here. When you consider all of the positives, a little planning beforehand can make this living situation work well!