Multi-generational living; what is it and how does it work

March, 2022

Some families like to lead separate lives and others like to be really involved; after all, every family is different. If you’re a close-knit family, then perhaps multi-generational living is for you. Having everyone under one roof can work and the notion has grown in popularity over the past few years. But what is multi-generational living?

What is multi-generational living? 

Multi-generational living is when there are at least two adult generations living under one roof, such as grandparents with their children and grandchildren. This type of living can also include extended family as well such as siblings and cousins.

What does a multi-generational home look like?

This all depends on the family and the style of the property but there are a few ways a multi-generational home can look and work, including:

  • Separate dwellings connected with a shared space such as a hallway or living room
  • Larger shared communal spaces such as living rooms and kitchens with separate bedrooms and bathrooms for each generation
  • Basement, attic or garage suites for independent living

Each multi-generational property will have a different layout and will work for families in different ways. It may not always be possible to find a ready-made multi-generational property that suits a family’s needs and so some renovation work may be needed to create the perfect home that meets that particular family.

Why is multi-generational living popular?

For many cultures, multi-generational living is important and something they’ve been doing for hundreds of years. Part of this is to pass on cultural traditions and teach respect for elders, but another side of multi-generational living for many cultures is the side that parents have looked after their children for many years, and now it’s their children’s time to look after them. In this way, multi-generational living almost acts like a retirement home for the elderly.

Although many cultures have been living in a multi-generational way for many years, it’s not the only reason why some families choose to live in a multi-generational home. The COVID-19 pandemic has been another push factor for families looking to make a change. So many people had to spend time apart during lockdowns and restrictions that all they want now is to spend time with their families and create memories.

Another reason the multi-generational trend is growing is the increasing costs of living. Not only are property prices continuing to rise in the UK, but the increasing day to day bills and food costs have forced some families to consider living with family to make ends meet.

What are the benefits of multi-generational living?

Economically efficient

One benefit of more than one generation living under the same roof is the economic benefits all parties can enjoy. All bills and expenses can be divided between parties rather than single homes carrying the expenses independently. This can allow for extra saving or spending money, as well as the potential to clear debts.

Strengthen family ties

In addition to spreading costs, multi-generational living can help boost family relationships with all generations spending quality time together every day, without the travel! It helps everyone create wonderful memories and continue to build on family connections.

Home maintenance

As well as equal financial responsibility, there is also shared responsibility for property maintenance and chores. Although not all generations may be able to complete all jobs, such as grandparents being unable to do physical labour, any property upkeep and chores can still be split between more parties. 

Family care 

Another benefit of multi-generational living is shared family care. Whether that is of children or elderly relatives, having more than one generation under one roof enables the share of care between more parties.

What are the potential drawbacks of multi-generational living?

Lack of personal space 

Although creating family memories is precious, it’s important to remember that multi-generational living can also mean a lack of personal space. This does depend on how the property is set up but if all the living spaces are shared, it can feel that all generations are living on top of each other and don’t have privacy.

Legal consequences

It’s important before agreeing to multi-generational living to consider any legal ramifications. This includes if one party wishes to move on and sell their part of the house as this can bring financial and ownership issues to everyone involved.

Lifestyle sharing

Living in a home with a range of ages and personalities also means living with a range of lifestyles and habits. This includes sleep schedules, eating schedules, working hours and socialising time. For example, grandparents may go to bed earlier but their children will want to stay up and watch a film so might have to be conscious of the noise they’re making.

Things to consider when choosing a multi-generational home

Once a family has decided to live in a multi-generational home, the next thing to do is find the right one! Just like buying any other home, there is so much to consider including more opinions and needs. Here are 5 tips to finding the best home for everyone:

  1. Assess if the home meets the family’s needs, not just now but in the future, including bedrooms, living spaces and outside space.
  2. Choose a location that suits as many people as possible such as close to schools, work and other friends and family.
  3. Decide if building from scratch, renovating an existing property or finding a property fit for purpose is the best option. 
  4. Communicate with a local property agent who has good knowledge of the area and the market. The more they understand the family’s needs, the quicker they can help find a suitable property.
  5. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to find the house of their dreams so as a family, remember to compromise and be patient with one another – this is a big decision. 


How we fit in

Have you decided that multi-generational living is for you and are now looking for your perfect property? Here at CCL Property, we offer a fantastic range of residential properties that could be your ideal next home. Browse online or get in touch to speak to one of our team about taking the next step.

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