Multi-generational Living- Not a Trend, Reality

Adult children moving back home was the topic of an article earlier this week in USA TodayIt was the latest in a parade of commentaries, citing the obvious.  Multi-generational living arrangements is neither news, or a trend.  For many people, for many reasons, it’s been reality for a while.

But it’s not just adult children-or financial need at play here.  NY Magazine’s look at extended child-bearing years (you know, with the demurely nude, pregnant  sexagenarian on the cover!) made me think about how all the blurred lines and out-of-sync life markers have necessitated these changes.

Extended and blended Westchester and Fairfield County families have been part of my client base for years. Yet in 2005-6, while organizing my 30th High school reunion, I was stunned to hear how many of my classmates were raising children of every age…their step-children, or grandchildren.  Hosting grown children or parents. Tending to ill or recovering loved ones. Their stories-and their stresses- were a real eye-opener

Look-when life changes and the household size grows, re-thinking where the TV goes, or how the office is set up is probably not high on most people’s priority list-might even seem frivolous.  But if your space has become suddenly over-crowded and under-organized, re-evaluating these things is precisely what will bring peace, and a better quality of life to the household.

The same approach works when you are selling a house in Westchester or Fairfield County.  The more USE you can demonstrate, the more FUNCTION a buyer sees-the more VALUE your property will have in their eyes. It is the yellow brick road to SOLD.

Neither  situation automatically means a mass purge, just putting all the similar stuff together, or filling it with things that just look good.  But in all situations you need to drill down and find out exactly who are the people who’ll be using the space.  When preparing a house for sale, I ask lots and lots of questions of the Realtor. When considering changes in a home you are already in, getting everyone on board should happen first.

  • Decide who gets to vote  Decision by committee lends  more toward harmony and compliance than dictates or ultimatums.
  • Address wants and hopes as well as needs and frustrations  Living together can be dicey…consideration of others’ feelings helps foster cooperation.
  • Keep the big picture in mind Remember this is about change for gain, not just punitive or subjective calls to give things up.


Tomorrow:  How to re-work and modify space, whether you’re staying or selling your Westchester County home