Single family homes are often not exactly that these days,  at least not in the traditional sense of parents and children in one house, their parents in their own home or in some sort of senior living setting,  adult children starting out on their own after college, etc.  


More often than not lately, several generations are living together for varying periods of time.    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, quoted in an article in New  Penn Financial newsletter, “from 2007 to 2011, the number of individuals aged 25 to 34 living at home increased by about 2 percent to 14.2 percent of all members of this demographic.”


Post-college financial struggles are often a factor, with often taking longer and graduating with enough debt often that buying their own place isn’t going to happen as early as previously.


Employment, or lack of it, is often a factor.  In addition to the post-college financial struggles, in this economy often job cut-backs make someone go back to where they came from but with different expectations – adult independence and yet some degree of financial need and less privacy than they’d like – or than their parents would like.   


Folks in the older generations often don’t want assisted living or nursing home and yet are not really able to stay safely in their own homes, so moving in with their children often provides at least a temporary solution.   More information about alternatives can make choices easier on everyone concerned, and often what seemed like an undesirable choice turns out to be a good one.    (Ask me – just this week it worked that way for someone.


Marriages  don’t always last “till death do us part” and  someone needs to come back home, maybe with a child or two.   As much as Grandma love the grandchildren, it can be difficult to go from the quiet of the empty-nest to the energetic busyness of children.  

A recent article on multigenerational homes  in the NewPennFinancial newsletter  (February 12, 2012) has some interest statistics on these non-traditional homes.   For those situations where the solution may be buying a property for the other generation, they have a lot of good real estate investor loans .    For information about these programs locally, call Rhonda Mullins, 423-764-0611 and  tell her Mary Sheridan sent you.  

Shared Equity Agreements can be a good alternative, with  FHA financing for co-borrowers with one or more generation.    For example, parents and college students can combine income and debts to avoid the high cost of dorm living, as an investment for the parents rather than just as a gift.    With good credit, less cash is necessary than for most investor financing.   More about this another time, or call me for information.  

Housing floor plans are increasingly taking these growing needs into account.     Ask me about good properties to share in the Johnson City area, or for good agents elsewhere who have experience with making everyone happy.     Or think about an addition or other alteration of your present home.




Mary Sheridan423-943-7655  Direct

Johnson City, TN area -including
Jonesborough, Kingsport, Bristol, Elizabethton.   
(Washington, Carter and Sullivan Counties)

Let's talk about what you want and how I can help

Comment balloon 4 commentsMary Sheridan • February 20 2012 06:54PM


There's no clear definition of what constitutes a family anymore. You see all sorts of living arrangements these days for a variety of reasons. If it's working, then there's no reason to change it.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) over 6 years ago

I hope we see more multi-generational homes. I think there will be a market for these mutli-generational homes, but we may have to wait for the economy to improve.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 6 years ago

Hi Mary,

I found your post very interesting and not really surprising. It's almost a flash back to the 1930's (although I wasn't around then) because it was a matter of economics. Then during WWII there was also a necessity for many. At one time as a small tyke (in the 1950's) we lived at grandpa's house, until my parents saved enough to buy a little place of their own.

Seems to me like this might be going on for a while for financial and familial reasons.

Posted by Lynda Eisenmann, Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co (Preferred Home Brokers) over 6 years ago

Jill, the article I quoted says the Centus Bureau's definitionof multigenerational homes "doubled-up" households must contain at least one individual over the age ot 18 who is not the homeowner, a partner of the homeowner, or currently enrolled in schoool.    My concern is that there's enough affordable alternatives that provide adequate privacy and convenience for the variable situations.  It does get touchy sometimes when, for example, a local jurisdiction defines single family homes as those that have no more than three unrelated adults.     The problem is that zoning regs (here, at least), specify that single-family zoning allows no more than three "unrelated adults."   They grant that they know the reg is widely violated and they don't check, but the rule remains. 

Joan, here at least we're seeing a lot more new homes that are flexible for these situations, and at least a first-floor suite is on everyone's "must have" list to accommodate the owner's getting older or their mother, etc.  

Lynda, I remember a few years growing up with cousins and aunt and uncle in the same house.   We survived - and with one bathroom.   You have so many good ideas that I wish your comment indicated your name.   I had to dig to find you.   But that reminded me of your    Thank you.


Posted by Mary Sheridan, Creative Marketing, Buyer Agency 423-943-7655 (Keller Willliams - 1033 Hamilton Place,Johnson City TN 37604) over 6 years ago