As the great recession rolled across American we saw a trend in which multiple generations began living in the same home together.

old and young living together

That trend has not abated today and we now see one in five families in American living in a multigenerational household with grandparents, parents and children — or even parents with just adult children. It most cases it brings forward a sense of family that we have not seen since American was a much more rural society. One of the problems a family may face when pursuing a common home can be found in both the financial and legal systems which are focused narrowly around the concept of single nuclear family housing.

Key Things to Know About Multigenerational Housing

Here are a few things that should be understood or considered as a family attempts to establish a multigenerational home.


  1. In terms of local housing issues - zoning rules may impact a family's ability to add onto a home or involve a subdivision or government entity which has rules or laws regarding the creation of separate private living areas within an existing home. A positive element can be found in that some builders are putting up homes for multigenerational use. These homes would be established in such a way that they comply and meet local rules or laws.

  2. In the last several years there has been a trend among lenders approving loans in which the income of all adults wanting to live together can be considered. For example, elderly adults can apply using their income from retirement sources along side the income of their adult children. 

  3. When a home is purchased, remember that most lenders require that all individuals on a mortgage must be listed on the title. However, Renee Bergmann, a real estate attorney warns "that putting all parties on title could lead to later problems. For one, the older parent may not be able to qualify for Medicaid to pay for nursing home care. And, should one couple divorce, or one generation later moves out, how will the value of the property be divided? "Until the public becomes informed on the legal and financial aspects of it, Bergmann adds, "she expects problems could ensue."

The bottom line is that you need to make sure you have a clear understanding of how your desire to live together will be impacted by the rules of laws of a community. Further you will need to work through how moving in together might impact your future financial situation.

If you would like to know why Northern Colorado is a great place to consider setting up a multigenerational household here is some further information that we have written on this subject.

Come talk to us if you have questions.

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