Multi-Gen Housing in Clark County, WA - Tips from Our Family to Yours

Real Estate Broker/Owner with ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors

Multi-generation Homes in Clark County, WA - Advice to other Families

Guess what's more than a passing trend? Multi-generational families living together in the US. According to the Pew Research Center, 49 million people now live in multi-generational homes. You can count us among those numbers.

Family members and friends laughed when my sister and I told them we planned to purchase a home together to share in the responsibilities of caring for our aging parents. After all, we both have husbands too. Some predicted rough roads and many challenges ahead.

It's nearly a year later and we not only love each other more than ever, but enjoy one another more than ever. How's that for a testament to Multi-generational living? We think our lifestyle offers numerous rewards and benefits, however we've discovered some important guidelines in our own journey of "together again" with mom and dad.

Tips from our Experiences

A need for Privacy!

First of all, we all recognize the need for privacy and space. Cheri and her husband live on their own private level of nearly 1700 square feet. We have the upper floor with the same square footage. We both have a separate entrances too. We are respectful of the different households and give one another the courtesy of privacy.

Currently, mom and dad are sharing the space with us while their backyard cottage is being built. It's supposed to be finished this Fall. In order to make this time less stressful, we  have converted one bedroom into their study for TV viewing, reading, and computer time. They also have a bedroom and private bath.  It works remarkably well.

Good Communication.

It's important to be forthcoming about any issues or hard feelings that pop up. Misunderstanding can take on a life of their own without honest dialog. Often, we can see another side when we take the time to listen. Since dad has dementia, we often check in with mom to ensure she's getting the right support.

Establish Expectations.

Our financial responsibilities are shared, but the percentage of monthly responsibility is smaller for our parents. Large purchases are discussed as a group - and the cost sharing is generally equal between the 3 couples.

It's not something that impacts our particular situation, but it's also important to discuss the social-life aspect of sharing a property. Imagine the partying family member who wants to entertain every weekend from dusk until dawn - that has the potential to cause big problems.

Who cooks, who mows the lawn, who transports the garbage to the end of the driveway? You get it, the division of responsibility is also an important factor to consider. For example, my sister and I trade off nights of hosting our parents for dinner. Every Sunday, we alternate and have a family supper at one of our homes.  It's actually pretty fun.

( Part 2 )

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ViewHomes™ grew out of our passion for nature, beautiful surroundings, and peaceful environments. Starting together in an urban environment, over the years we've gravitated towards areas with smaller populations and less density. We now enjoy our lifestyle in a rural environment, but with close proximity to metropolitan areas where we appreciate all the amenities of fine restaurants, shopping, and an easy drive to an international airport.
Living in ViewHomes™ is like having “elbowroom for the soul”.






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Youree Lundy
Keller Williams Advantage III Realty - Orlando, FL
Your Realtor For Life

I am hopeful that when I need the support, that one of my children will have or be willing to establish a situation like yours.  I don't want to age without my family near, but at the same time, I do not want to become a burden.  A multigenerational dwelling is the ideal solution.  I will be saving your article to share with my customers who may be considering this type of change.

Jul 10, 2016 02:48 AM #6
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD - As much as I would have loved to do the same ... my family is too dysfunctional. It takes the right family balance and a lot of unconditional love to live multi-gen.  It warms my heart to know that so many are doing it.  

Jul 10, 2016 03:05 AM #7
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Debb and Bernie, we were considering doing the same with our parents, needless to say they were not open to the idea and sadly we did not have the time with them like you do before they passed on..... I love that this is not just a Fad... the Japanese Culture always respected their elders and it is a good direction we are heading with this...Endre

Jul 10, 2016 04:35 AM #8
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

There are so many benefits to multi generational living and as you point out, communication is the key to success. 

Jul 10, 2016 08:34 AM #9
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Good Morning Debb and Bernie, I agree multi-gen housing is definitely not a fad. I see it growing more and more in this area as well. Communication is truly imperative and when it's time to find a home for multi-generations you are the agents to contact in Clark County. You not only know this market niche, you LIVE it as well!

Jul 10, 2016 11:29 PM #10
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Debb & Bernie - What valuable advice! As the interest in multi-generational housing grows, it's wonderful that buyers are able to tap into your positive experience and the lessons you have learned by actually living it, along with your overall real estate expertise.

Jul 11, 2016 04:54 AM #11
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

Hi there Debb-your family is truly the model for multi-generational living-the reasons vary from family to family but you provide a wonderful model and template.

Jul 11, 2016 07:21 AM #12
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


                               Thanks you Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD for my ah-ha moment. 

Jul 16, 2016 10:47 AM #13
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD ,

I'm so glad Kathy Streib featured this in her post this morning on her "Ah-ha" moments for the week. Multi-generational housing is growing in our country as we make decisions on whats best for the whole family as parents age. This post is a great start for dialog between family members to iron out the realities of living together. Can't wait to read Part 2!!

Jul 16, 2016 09:20 PM #14
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good mornin g Debb and Bernie. You guys are to be complimented for making this situation work for you. Great tips of things to consider. Enjoy your day!

Jul 16, 2016 09:46 PM #15
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Good Sunday Morning Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD - I often dreamed of having my family on a compound together. Not sure if it will ever happen but one can dream.

Jul 16, 2016 10:49 PM #16
Terry Records
Records Results!Real Estate - Fort Myers, FL

Great post with excellent advice! The respect for privacy is crucial in making this work.

Jul 16, 2016 11:10 PM #17
Shirley Coomer
Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az

What a lovely post showing how families should get along and take care of each other.  You parents are indeed fortunate to have two thoughtful daughters.   

Jul 16, 2016 11:34 PM #18
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

My daughter in law suggested a living together.  I said to our son, your room and upstairs is left the way it was.  Come back in.

Right now it is a grandchildren play area. All GI Joe, fire trucks and toys are still there intact.  One can not find these toys at the store anymore.


Jul 17, 2016 01:58 AM #19
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

What a wonderful read Debb! Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD ... Though we didn't live on the same property my grandparents lived less than a mile away. Next door to them was my grandma's brother and wife and with them lived Great Grandma, and next to them a cousin. We spent much of our youth in those homes and I feel so fortunate to have been close and that they were part of my life almost daily... I look forward to part 2!

Jul 17, 2016 03:22 AM #20
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

You are a testament of communication, support, and caring for elderly parents full time.  You are lucky to have a good foundation and spousal support!  You guys rock!  

Jul 17, 2016 05:56 AM #21
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Hi Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD I can see more multi-generational homes coming into play. Communication is key for all the families and your testimony proves that.

Jul 17, 2016 06:56 AM #22
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD - establishing the expectations is a BIG thing!  

I remember growing up in 'joint family' and had so many benefits - and few sacrifices, too!

Jul 17, 2016 04:04 PM #23
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Debb, this concept is becoming a lot more popular and common around here.  And often, it’s the elders moving in to raise children while their parents work to provide the bulk of the financial support.  And many builders are creating separate spaces for the granny nanny to have some privacy. 

Can’t wait to read Part 2!

Jul 17, 2016 09:45 PM #24
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I think it's wonderful it works so well for you. I really don't think I could do it....I love my family but living together would be too much.

Jul 18, 2016 04:41 AM #25
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REALTORS® in Clark County, WA
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