Complete Guide To Buying a Home With Parents/In-Laws

by Tommy SibigaAugust 12, 2016


More and more Americans are living in multigenerational households. A multi-generational household is simply one that has more than one adult generation residing in it. In 2007 there were 46.6 million, and that rose to 56.8 million in 2012. This trend is continuing to rise and even contractors are embracing it by building houses with dual master bedrooms and/or first floor masters. Typically a multigenerational home buying situation is someone buying a home with their parents or in-laws. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are considering buying a multigenerational home.

The first few questions that you might want to consider when you are shopping with parents or in-laws concern shared living space. Are you okay with having a shared family room and kitchen? Or would you rather them have some privacy and a space to call their own? It may be best to have a conversation regarding this topic to best direct your house hunt.
Master Bedroom
If you decide to look for a private space, one feature you should keep your eye out for is an in-law suite. An in-law suite is almost always only found when a previous homeowner has intentionally built one for a loved family member. Why go through the mess of constructing a new suite when somebody may have already done it for you? If the rest of the home meets your needs and the in-law suite has been done well then all the hard work is done. It will not take any creativity to imagine how the space can be utilized.

Basements lend themselves naturally to separate living spaces. A home with a walk-out basement is especially appealing for those buyers who are looking to share their home with aging parents/in-laws, as accessibility and the least amount of steps possible are of high priority for multigenerational households.

Another feature to be on the hunt for is a home that offers a first-floor master bedroom or a dual master floor plan. This is more geared towards buyers who are comfortable with sharing their common areas. Varying construction trends across regions have contributed to new homes with a first-floor master bedroom. With a little modification, or perhaps compromise, a home with a first-floor master bedroom can easily accommodate multiple generations of adults. If you’re fortunate enough, you may even be able to find a home that has two master bedrooms–one master on the main level and then a second master bedroom upstairs with the other bedrooms.

Split Ranch House
Also, if shared common areas are acceptable, then a traditional ranch (or rambler) could be a good option for you. A single level home makes it easy for all parties to get around. A split ranch may also be appealing. A split ranch has the master bedroom on one side of the house and the rest of the bedrooms on the other. If you find a rancher with small guest bedrooms it may be possible to knock down a wall to enlarge the space.

Beyond the floor plan that’s best suitable for multigenerational purposes, it’s also important to consider parking. Are there enough parking spots for all the adults living in the home? If there are enough spots, can everybody get in and out conveniently? The functionality of the home for additional adults needs to be considered.

Shopping for a home with your parents or in-laws may present some difficulties. The more opinions you throw into the mix the harder it may be to reach a decision. However, if you agree upon expectations for common and private space, you can begin to narrow down your hunt. Once agreed, then you can shop for an in-law suite, a home with a basement, a first-floor master home, a dual master home, and/or a rancher. Additionally, as you tour the homes, be mindful of the daily functionality of the home to make sure it meets or exceeds all your expectations. And as always, be sure to check out Homes.com to help you in your search. A real estate professional is also a terrific resource to target specific home features.


Homes.com is the place to dream and discover your ideal home! Are you starting to get the itch to look for your first or next home, but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place! Browse our real estate and lifestyle blog for home buying tips, mortgage guides, DIY ideas, interior design, lifestyle topics, general home inspiration, or just some homes fun. We are sure you can scratch that itch and find all the information and tools you need to help in your home search. Want to start looking at available real estate right now? Head to our home page and check out homes for sale or rent listings all over the country.
Happy house hunting!

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Tommy Sibiga
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