Multigenerational Housing in West Chester: Buying a Home with Family

The Andrea Fonash Group of RE/MAX Action Associates
Published on November 16, 2017

Multigenerational Housing in West Chester: Buying a Home with Family

Housing that caters to several generations under one roof is not a new concept, but it’s gaining in popularity in the US.

We started seeing the demand during the recession, when unemployment propelled younger workers back to Mom and Dad’s house.

Plus, millennials tend to get married later and remain at home longer, according to Diana Olick at CNBC.

Immigration is also a driver of the multi-gen housing market, Olick suggests:

“In Asian and Hispanic cultures, multigenerational living is usually the rule. As these immigrants move to the U.S. in greater numbers, they bring the trend along with them.”

Burns Consulting surveyed 20,000 homebuyers last year and found that 44% said they wanted room for their parents. 42% percent were parents wanting room for their adult children.

Thinking about moving to Chester County with your kids or your parents? Read on for some tips gleaned from the 51 million Americans who have done it.

Homes for Sale in Chester County PA

Multigen House Hunting in West Chester

The most important aspect to consider when shopping for a multi-gen property is privacy.

Each member of the family should have some space to call their own that provides a place to retreat. This may mean building an “in-law” unit or constructing new walls to divide rooms.

You’ll need to look into the Chester County zoning laws if you want to build an in-law. Or find a home in West Chester large enough if you want to divide rooms.

Keep New Home Construction On Track

Multigen New Construction in West Chester

Lucky you if you choose a community in which home builders are catering to the trend.

Lennar, for instance, offers its NextGen homes model. They don’t operate in PA yet, but Rotelle does, and they’re right up the street in Pottstown!

Multi-generational house plans are becoming one of the most popular, practical, and economical designs choices in today’s world, and Rotelle Custom Homes has become the leading expert on them! The idea is that the family can live under one roof, but not entirely together. [Source]

Mortgage Process

The money stuff

Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but the financial aspect of the home purchase and ongoing costs are a discussion that needs to take place early in the process. And, the discussion should not be “a parent-kid thing,” according to John Graham, co-author of “All in the Family: A Practical Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living.”

He goes on to caution that families should aim to “level the hierarchy of the family,” treating each member as adults. Some of the topics of these conversations should include:

  • Who will buy the property?
  • How will title be held? It’s important to understand the different ways of holding title. For instance, what happens to the home upon the death of the primary buyer?
  • How much will each adult contribute each month to the mortgage payment?
  • Lists of each family member’s must-haves in a home and those he or she can’t tolerate.

Talk to a West Chester-area attorney to ensure you’ve discussed all the ramifications.

How to Buy a Home

Talk to one another

Some families excel at open communication while others find it challenging. “The biggest factor in successful arrangements is communication,” Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United tells Sue Campbell, author of “The Aging Well Revolution: How new communities and technologies help us live.”

“You need to sit down before someone moves in and talk about expectations and parameters, including how you’ll divide up food, utilities and responsibilities. Another important question to ask is whether the situation is permanent or temporary,” Butts concludes.

Get clear on mutually-agreed upon house rules, preferably before everyone moves in together.

Living with—and buying a home with—immediate family isn’t for everyone. But the cost savings benefits are undeniable!

If you’re interested in looking for multigenerational homes in West Chester, please get in touch! We’d be happy to help with your search.