Looking for the perfect home can be a lot more challenging if you are planning for multigenerational living. You need to make sure the home meets the needs of your children, yourselves, and your parent(s). Fortunately, you can help narrow down your search by keeping a few key things in mind.
When it comes to a multigenerational home layout, there are three main choices:
A separate "granny flat"
Divided living spaces in a single home
Dual master suites
A separate granny flat is often in the form of a converted garage, fully appointed addition, or even a small guest home in the back yard. Just make sure the flat is fully accessible for an aging person if your parents will be living there. For example, a flat built into the attic of a garage will likely have difficult to maneuver stairs.
Divided living in a single home typically takes the form of a small "apartment" type set up. This is most often seen in homes with walkout basement or with wings. If a home has a bedroom, den, and bathroom that aren't vital to the functioning of the rest of the home, it is relatively easy to add a kitchenette to one wall of the den and provide a small apartment to give the family members there some privacy.
The final option is not to worry about separate living arrangements. Instead, simply opt for a home where there are two master bedrooms or at least a second bedroom with a dedicated bathroom of its own. The kitchen and other living spaces will be shared completely.
Accessibility benefits both the youngsters and the grandparents in a multigenerational home. Older people often have mobility issues, so avoid houses with lots of steps leading up to the front door or with staircases that must be managed to get to a bedroom. This is also good if you have young kids since steps can be dangerous for little ones.
Preferably, there should be at least one bathroom with a walk-in shower, since a tub may be difficult for an older parent to get in and out of. Also, look for wide doorways. Even if your parent doesn't need mobility aids like walkers or scooters now, they may in the future, so it's best to be prepared.
Contact a realtor to begin your search for real estate that will meet your specific needs.