House Hunting with Multigenerational Living in Mind

May 10, 2023

Around 60 million Americans live in multigenerational homes. This number gained momentum during the pandemic as everything about how we view our homes seemed to change. Sharing a house with several generations has become ideal for many families. If this option is on your radar, it’s good to know how to go house hunting with multigenerational living in mind.
Julia Monaghan Real Estate takes great joy in helping you find the right house to meet your goals. From single folks to multigenerational families, our clients represent a wide range of household makeups and needs.
Connect with us today to discuss your home sale or purchase in the Portland Metro area. We serve clients from West Linn to Forest Grove and beyond. We can’t wait to meet you!

Multigenerational Living In a Nutshell

With so many families choosing to expand their households to include grandchildren, aging parents, grandparents, or adult children, this trend isn’t going away any time soon. Typically, experts consider a home multigenerational when there are two or more adult generations or a skipped generation. For example, grandparents raising their grandchildren demonstrates a skipped generation.
Many families choose multigenerational living for a variety of reasons:
  • Shared Expenses
  • Shared Household Duties
  • Childcare Help
  • Earlier Retirement
  • Medical/Aging Assistance
The benefits of this arrangement are significant, so it’s no surprise that so many US homes are choosing to share in this way.

House Hunting for Multigenerational Living

If multigenerational living is your goal, your home search will require specific parameters. As you work with your agent to find the right property, here are some things to consider.

Division of Expenses and Responsibilities

Buying a home for several generations to share naturally requires a bigger house than each generation would need on their own. To make this happen, you may be cosigning for the mortgage, so everyone involved needs to have their finances in order.
Make sure you have clear, honest conversations among the adults about your budget and how you will handle all household expenses:
  • Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • Maintenance and cleaning
  • Groceries
  • Childcare, if applicable
Put everything in writing for each person to sign so you all have clear boundaries and expectations. Although it probably feels weird to have a contract of sorts with your family, this step can help avoid a lot of conflict down the road.


A significant number of multigenerational arrangements include aging parents or grandparents. In this situation, the odds are that you need a property that allows for accessibility. Even if no one currently uses a walker or wheelchair, there’s a good chance someone will eventually. The ability to move safely throughout the home is crucial.
Similarly, it’s essential to buy a home with only one level or an accessible master suite on the main floor. These considerations make it more likely you’ll find a home you and your family can stay in for a long time.

Size and Layout

A sense of emotional closeness is a major reason families choose to combine generations into one home. But even the most loving of families need space sometimes. When house hunting with multigenerational living in mind, it’s critical to look at the size and layout.
Of course, you need enough room for everyone to sleep and store their things. But you also will want enough space for people to have privacy and distance when needed. For example, you might want to search for homes with two separate living rooms or even a second kitchen or small kitchenette to allow some autonomy and breathing room for everyone.
Also, pay attention to the outdoor spaces of any property you’re considering.
  • Is it level and safe for someone with limited or assisted mobility to navigate?
  • Do you need room to park an RV?
  • Is there a space for children to play?
  • Does the home have enough parking for everyone?
  • Is there sufficient storage for shared tools and outdoor furniture?

Location and Access to Services

Depending on the ages in your home, it’s good to consider how close you’ll be to needed services. For example, does someone have medical concerns that require frequent doctor appointments? Are you looking for a specific school district for children in the household?
Do you need to be near public transit? It’s wise to think about these for your current and future needs.
When choosing a neighborhood, also pay attention to any HOA rules and restrictions. For example, some organizations restrict the number or type of vehicles you can park on the property.

Ability to Add On

Flexibility is the name of the game for any multigenerational living situation. As you look for a home to meet your needs, consider its potential for the future.
You might want space to add square footage as your family grows. Or perhaps you’d like an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on the property. There may come a time when you need to build a ramp. Your agent can connect you with architects and contractors to help determine your options.
Be sure to check on the area’s zoning ordinances and laws if you hope to add on in the future. It’s crucial that you know of any restrictions or prohibitions before you buy the property.

Is Multigenerational Living Right for You?

With so many pieces to consider in this decision, it’s important to have a lot of open communication before moving forward. Moving several generations into one home has many benefits. But it also inherently changes the way everyone lives to some extent. Ongoing conversations are crucial to making this work.
If everyone is on board financially and you keep an open dialogue to troubleshoot any bumps in the road, multigenerational living can be a great choice. When you’re ready to start house hunting, Julia Monaghan Real Estate is here to help.
No matter your situation, our team can find a property to meet your needs as you pursue your real estate goals. And if it’s time to sell, we’ve got you covered with that, too. Reach out today to learn more.

Work With Julia

I’d truly like to see how I can help you attain your real estate goals. It is my passion to help people whether it’s meeting an immediate need or helping create a long-term plan. Contact me today. I’ll be in touch right away. I’d love to grab a coffee or a beer and talk about your goals.