How can you plan for an increase in multiple generations living under the same roof? The cookie-cutter four-piece family is so yesterday in the home building world.

Builders can no longer focus on the “standard” four-person family when designing homes. The multigenerational household continues to grow in the United States, especially with rising housing prices across the country.

A Pew Research study showed that 20 percent of Americans live with two generations under the same roof (who are adults). That’s one in five households. This means grown children are residing with their parents, or aging parents and grandparents are living with their adult children.

But what does this mean for home builders? How do you ensure a family has the necessary room to accommodate and grow?

Below are several considerations for home builders to optimize spaces for multigenerational households.

Private quarters

The first consideration for this type of home is ensuring privacy, for everyone involved. If an aging parent has moved in with a young family with children, for instance, that parent probably would like to have his or her own space, especially a bathroom.

Another example is if an older child is still living at home with his or her parents. The same Pew study showed that recently, young adults are the age group most likely to reside in this type of multigenerational living arrangement. This can be a great opportunity to convert an attic or a basement into a private apartment, which may even include its own kitchen or kitchenette. A private entrance to the house is also a good idea for extra privacy.

These added living quarters are commonly called accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which are small apartments that are still part of or connected to the main house. (While these are great for multigenerational families, they can also be rented out for extra cash if no one is currently living there.)

Keep in mind that elderly residents may not be able to walk up and down stairs. This could create opportunities to instead convert the first-level space into a private living space that is easily accessible while making room on other levels for the kids or young parents.

This type of setup is becoming more and more popular with home buyers as multiple generations are sharing the same space. Up the value of your property by allowing a family room to grow or share space.

A single gathering space

With multiple generations of a family sharing the same space, privacy is important. But there should also be a natural living space where everyone can come together and gather for meals or movies or conversation.

Consider an open floor plan that allows for this type of gathering space for several people at the same time. The popular design of a connected living room to an open kitchen creates a nice opportunity for family members to prepare food while interacting with the rest of the family.

Offering the room-to-grow option

Even if a potential home buyer doesn’t yet have the need for the extra space that a private apartment or living space provides, many people just like having the option. Maybe an older couple wants their grown children to have the option to come back home after college. Perhaps a couple recognizes that they will soon need to keep a closer eye on their aging parent or grandparent instead of placing them in a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Or, maybe a family recognizes that as their kids grow and become teenagers, they’ll want their own space and more privacy. It’s a hard transition period when a kid is ready to move out of the house, but they’re not quite old enough. Many teens love having an attic or basement that they can turn into their own unique areas.

Whatever they may have in mind, families appreciate having options. And adding that extra space or a full ADU allows for a variety of multigenerational sharing opportunities down the road, even if it’s not a current necessity. And with the option to rent out space until a family member needs to move in, buyers will see it as a win-win.

As a home builder, it’s important to keep an eye on the current trends in order to maintain a profitable business. Knowing what people want in a home will help you plan and make the wisest investments for your business.

If you’d like to learn more about how to optimize your building projects or to have a financial systems assessment, get in touch with our team at No Boundaries Advisors. Other services we provide include tax preparation, payroll and bookkeeping services, and advisory services, all to ensure that your home building business thrives. We can also meet with you for a strategic planning session.

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