Canton MA Events and Real Estate


Multi Generational Home Buying

It's becoming more and more common for buyers to be buying or looking for a home with other family members.  Quite often it may be a couple and one of their parents.  Sometimes it is for financial reasons that they have decided to pool resources and buy a home.  Sometimes it may be that the older generation is going to provide childcare for the younger generation.  Maybe you want your parents close by so you can care for them. Or, perhaps it's a cultural tradition.

Whatever the reason, there are some issues to consider if you are thinking of buying a home with other family members. Here are some things you should think about up front.  I use the term parents in this list - but this would apply to any relative or friend with whom you may want to buy a house. 


  • multi generational familyWill all of you be pooling resources to buy the house together? Will you and your parents (or other family members) be on the mortgage together? If so, talk to your loan officer to see if/how this impacts the preapproval.  The credit score for each buyer will impact the preapproval.
  • If you buy the house together, consider how to hold title to the house and make sure to do some estate planning.  If something were to happen to a parent who may own the house with you, would their interest in the house go to you or would she want it to go to someone else?  If something were to happen to you, would your spouse be okay owning the house jointly with your parents?  It’s something you want to consider and discuss up front with your entire family. Talk to an attorney to figure out the options up front and put it all in writing.
  • Do your parents already own a house? Will they need to sell it before you can buy a new house?
  • On the other hand, if you and/or you and your spouse are buying the house and your parents are going to live with you, will they pay rent?  How much? Or will they be providing a service such as child care that will offset any rent?
  • Will your parents have a say in what type of house you buy?
  • What type of living arrangement do you want? A two-family house? A single-family house with an in-law apartment? Or just a traditional single family house where you’d share living space? Or even a three-bedroom condo with shared space?
  • If living in a traditional single family home, what size and/or layout do you think you’d need if Linda was living with you? Do you each need your own space?
  • Do you each have a car? If so, you’d need enough parking for 3 cars.
  • Talk about chores/who does what around the house.  How will you split chores, maintenance costs, how to split utility costs, groceries, etc. 
  • If your parents are going to be providing child care, discuss when and how often.  Maybe they're willing to watch the kids a few days per week while you are at work but don't expect them to babysit every Friday night when you go out for date night - at least not without asking first.  Set up limits and expectations up front.  

By geting these issues resolved up front, you can have a more focused and productive home search. More importantly, you can prevent problems with family members later on if everything is discussed up front and out in the open.

Living with an older generation opens up wonderful opportunities for parents, children and grandparents. Preparing for the issues you may encounter will help everything run more smoothly.


Are you looking for a home in the Canton MA area?  Whether it's just you or multi-generational members of your family, your Canton MA Buyer Broker can help you find the right home for you.




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Christine Smith is an Attorney and Exclusive Buyer Agent with over 25 years of experience in the real estate field. 


(c) Copyright 2010-2015 Christine M. Smith, Attorney and Buyer Agent. All rights reserved.

Comment balloon 13 commentsChristine Smith • April 04 2015 02:49PM


Good morning, Christine Smith on the flip side, the waters get mucky if and when divorce happens, and the parents are elderly with early dementia!!!

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 5 years ago

Exactly Barbara - kind of goes along with estate planning.  All of those things should be figured out up front and put in writing.

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - over 5 years ago

I get several calls from people looking for homes that allow an in-law options, and they are very scarce unless they are older homes

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 5 years ago

They are a little hard to find around here too Ed Silva but we do have a fair number of raised ranch/split level/multi-level homes that can often be a good option for in-laws - as long as it's allowed by the municipality and properly permitted - but that's a whole other blog topic!

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - over 5 years ago

Christine there is a lot to think about when more than one family will live in the same home, ESPECIALLY IF EACH DOES NOT HAVE THEIR OWN LIVING SPACE.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) over 5 years ago

We're not seeing much of that in my area, but we are starting to see builders build for it to be possible with a second kitchen area.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 5 years ago

I'm starting to see a few floor plans in southern Nevada that include a 'grandparent's suite' - a separate wing on the main floor. It's a great idea that I think we'll see more of as America ages.

Posted by John Novak, Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace) over 5 years ago

I have not seen much multihousing in our market yet. I don't know why...

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Some of our newer homes are being built with two master suites. Problem we run into are with finances. How to hold title does become an issue too. Tons of drama can also follow. While in theory the idea is a great one, I have seens some nasty situations. I usually see the kids buy the home and let mom and dad move in. Pooling resources gets a bit more touchy. 

Posted by Janis Borgueta, LIC RE Salesperson (Key Properties of the Hudson Valley ) over 5 years ago

We also have newer homes that are being built so that multi-generational families can live in them. These are great questions. We just listed a home where parents and kids were living together but kids have moved out now on their own, so parents don't need almost 5000 square feet anymore.

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) about 5 years ago

George...people often don't think it all the way through - there is a lot to think about.

Tammy....I've had a few clients recently ask about this.

John...It's great to have a ready-made floor plan to fit this situation. Although you want it to work for all kinds of buyers too.

Evelyn...could be a regional thing!

Janis...It CAN get nasty. Everything really needs to be thought out and put into writing.

Sharon...that is a large house. I do wonder how those homes do on re-sale as there are probably fewer buyers looking for something like that.

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - about 5 years ago

Great topic Christine and one situation I am running into more and more.

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Houses that are conducive to multi-generational living will become more popular. "Aging in place" support systems means more families will be looking for homes that will be conducive to accommodate aging parents.

Posted by Dave Halpern, Louisville Short Sale Expert (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827) almost 3 years ago

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