Agent Blogs 7 Tips for Working with Multi-Generational Home Buyers by Adrian Johansen December 9, 2019February 25, 2020 by Adrian Johansen December 9, 2019February 25, 2020 Multi-generational households have been on the rise for the past 40 years. In 1980, just 12% of Americans lived in a multi-generational household — now 20%, or 64 million, of Americans are living in a home with two or more generations under the same roof. Naturally, this trend is impacting the way realtors are working with potential home buyers. Why Families Are Choosing to Live Together There is no definitive reason why families are choosing to live this way. While the Great Recession and fall of the housing market in the early 2000s definitely made its impact, there are a number of other causes for the upward trend as well. One reason multi-generational living is on the rise is the fact that people are living longer. The average life expectancy in the US is 78 years old, and many seniors are working into their 70s to be able to afford their active lives. Because people are living longer, older generations moving into the same household as their children can be a huge help to all family members involved. At the same time, the cost of childcare can reach up to $2,000 per month in some US states and can be even more expensive in other areas. Having live-in grandparents available to care for the kids can be a huge financial help. Millennials are another key factor behind the increase in multi-generational home buying. Nearly one-third of millennials are choosing to live with their parents rather than renting or buying their own home. That is more than any previous generation. One reason for this is that many millennials are saddled with college debt and can’t afford to rent or buy a home of their own. Home prices and the rate of suburban poverty are both on the rise as well. In 2016, approximately 45.7 million Americans were living in poverty, up from 43.1 million in 2015. Choosing to live with family or share expenses with family members can help combat financial stress and, ultimately, poverty. Another contributing factor is also the growth of different ethnic communities who traditionally live in multi-generational homes. Those of Hispanic heritage typically live under the same roof as numerous other family members. As the Latin population increases in the United States, so will the need for multi-generational housing. All of that taken into consideration, multi-generational home buying is on the rise and doesn’t look like it is going anywhere any time soon. Here are a few tips on how real estate agents might cater to these home buyers. 1. Educate Your Clients Realtors should be responsible for educating potential home buyers about the expenses behind owning a multi-generational home. There are expenses that come with buying a new home, but having a home large enough to house multiple generations of family members for years and years will have some additional costs. Altering the household or finding a home to better fit your family may come with a higher cost. Additionally, multi-generational home buyers should be prepared for higher utility bills and other costs associated with owning a large home housing multiple people. They may have to spend more on maintenance such as plumbing as the system will be used more than a traditional household. It’s also a good idea to purchase appliances and products for the home that will withstand the wear-and-tear of being used often. However, don’t let these additional costs scare them away from buying the home. Be sure to educate them on the potential savings as well. Living under the same roof can help them control food costs, childcare costs, and pool their resources. 2. Make Sure Everyone in the Family Is on the Same Page Realtors dealing with a buyer interested in a multi-generational home will also likely be showing the home to multiple family members at the same time. During showings, it is a good idea to get an idea of what everyone in the family is looking for. Doing this will ensure you know if there are any “must-have” items on their list. For instance, if having an in-law suite or a large communal family room are deal breakers for your client, you won’t waste time showing them homes without those amenities. 3. Consider the Space Available Some pieces of property may have the option for add-ons or may even have a separate building on the property that could be used as an apartment space for members of the family. Depending on the family’s needs, you can help them visualize the space differently in a way that fits what they’re looking for. Point out areas of the house that can be changed or upgraded and be sure to note that having to do these upgrades can help with negotiating the sale price. Also be sure they are aware of any additional space on the property, such as detached garages or bonus houses, and point out how they might be used. It is also a good idea to prioritize homes with open floor plans and wide hallways, as most people thinking about 10+ people living under the same roof won’t be able to envision themselves in a home that feels cramped. 4. Work With Builders Focused on Multi-Generational Homes Because multi-generational homes are increasing in popularity, many builders are beginning to map out floor plans for home buyers looking to house multiple generations under the same roof. Find builders in your area to work with. This way, if you can’t find a home within the desired area for your clients, you can propose they have a home built to their specifications. In many cases, this can be the best way to get multi-generational home buyers everything they want in a home. Related: The Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Networking for Agents 5. Take Storage Into Consideration When you are looking for homes to show to multi-generational home buyers, you should also take storage into consideration. Having a plethora of closet space and built-in storage can help keep things organized in a home with so many people. Homes with additional storage space, such as a cellar, garage, or attic space may be more attractive to multi-generational buyers. The ability to store things away when they aren’t being used with so many people under the same roof will be important to most. 6. Know Your Client Base People looking for multi-generational homes are typically between the ages of 50 and 60. For the most part, they are looking for a home that provides separate, private spaces as well as large family rooms. They may also be interested in remodeling the home to better fit their needs. Because of this, it is also a good idea to get to know contractors in the area. This will enable you to connect your clients with people who can add that second kitchen, laundry area, extra bathrooms, or whatever the client may need. 7. Listen to Your Clients Most of all, it is important you communicate and listen to your clients. They will tell you what you are looking for. Discuss with them any deal breakers for finding the perfect house, how long they plan on living there, and what family members will be living there. As home-buying trends change, realtors must adapt to their clients’ needs. With multi-generational home buyers becoming the new norm, knowing the tips and tricks of the trade when dealing with them will be key to the success of marketing to the needs of these clients. Related: A Guide for Effective Communication with Your Real Estate Clients This article has been contributed by Adrian Johansen. Start Your Investment Property Search! START FREE TRIAL Guest BlogsMillennialsReal Estate Tips 0 FacebookTwitterGoogle +PinterestLinkedin Adrian Johansen Adrian Johansen is a writer and hobbyist in the Pacific Northwest. She loves sharing her adventures and knowledge with others. You can check out more of her writing here. 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