Multigenerational living is once again common in America. After being a norm for many generations, then declining as American families scattered, multigenerational households have grown over the past several decades.
The past ten years have seen a remarkably large leap in multigenerational living, from 7 percent of Americans in 2011 to 26 percent of Americans in 2021. Most of us are likely either residing in a home with three or more generations, or we know someone who is.
As the desire for multigenerational homes increases, homebuyers are looking for ways to bring all their family together under one roof—floorplans that are designed to accommodate multiple generations while maintaining a sense of privacy and individual space. In a time when family has become even more important, homes with in-law suites are a welcome opportunity to provide for loved ones, build family connections, and manage budgets. In fact, according to findings published online last year in the journal SSM-Population Health, multigenerational homes could improve financial resources, buffer stress, reduce loneliness, enhance intellectual sharing, and generate structural social capital, thereby elevating the level of one’s health. Some benefits include:
1. Connections: Multigenerational families living together under one roof have the luxury of seeing each other every day. These families develop a high level of attachment and closeness, pass on family traditions, and benefit from interactions with one another.
2. Financial: By bringing family members and resources together under one roof, families can collectively address their expenses and allocate finances accordingly.
3. Safety: With multiple generations under one roof, a home is rarely ever left unoccupied for long. Living with other family members also increases the chances that someone is present to assist elderly family members should they need care.
4. Value: Having an in-law suite will almost certainly boost the value of your home. Adding extra square footage to your primary house will result in a higher listing price when you decide to sell your home.
What Makes a Good In-Law Unit
One of the most important factors in making a multigenerational household work is privacy. All members need to have their own space and sense of freedom to still live the way they want while under one roof. Look for a home where the in-law unit is located on the first floor and includes a door into the central living area of the home along with a private entrance. This allows for space upstairs for family members, and the ability to close off the suite from the rest of the house. You’ll also want to ensure the design features the appropriate amenities. Most in-law suites typically include a bedroom, bathroom, small kitchenette, living space, laundry room and a separate entrance from the primary home.