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multigenerational_clientsWith aging grandparents on the rise and adult children returning home from college, multigenerational living becoming more prevalent. In 2012, a record 57 million Americans lived in multigenerational households, double the number from 1980. And the trend continues to rise.

In fact, according to NAR, 4% of U.S. home purchases last year involved a multigenerational household of adult children, plus parents, grandparents or both. How will this growing trend affect the agent’s role in the home searching and buying process? Here are three things to keep in mind:

Know the backstory
While the reasoning for the multi-gen home may vary with each client, it will be important for the agent to take the time to understand the back story. For example, an elderly woman may be moving in with her daughter’s family so that they can help care for her as she ages. In this situation, an agent would need to approach the search process much differently than if they were looking for a newly married couple with a baby on the way who are moving in with their in-laws to save money. A first floor bedroom and bathroom would be important in this scenario.

Rethink your traditional strategy
In a traditional setting, the agent is usually dealing with the requests of one person or two people. With multi-gen housing, the agent is tasked with complying to the demands of multiple people from various generations – each with their own needs and preferences. Ahead of time, do your best to think of all the logistical challenges each generation may face and then work to find a happy medium. Balance is key.

Bigger may not always be better
When you begin searching for options to show your clients, keep an open mind. A larger home with a traditional open floor plan may sound like the best option for a bigger family, but that’s not always the case. Smaller homes with separate living quarters like split-levels or an in-law apartment can also provide your client with the best of both worlds: everyone living under the same roof, but with enough space and privacy to transition comfortably.

At the end of the day, helping a family embark on this new path requires dedication beyond professional skill. Don’t forget to approach the situation with understanding, empathy and patience in order to achieve a successful and positive outcome for all parties involved.

View this original post on ERA’s blog, Owning the Fence.