We specialize in In-Law Suites and Expanded Family Living. Over the past ten years, we have seen a rise in the need of combining families, as well as aging in place.
Many cultures in society have been combining resources for centuries, but the US is just getting into the game. Baby Boomers are healthy and living longer. In lieu of large homes, they are desirous of travel and freedom, precipitating the need for smaller domiciles. Also, when the need for care presents itself, families are preferring to combine living space with family members for their care.
On the other side, these Baby Boomers who are healthy and active can be a great help to growing families and will combine living spaces to help their children with the grandchildren’s care.
The hottest thing in 2000 was 55 and over communities, but in past years, the value of homes has dropped. Since these assets have decreased it has made the move into these communities more challenging especially with the rise of health care expenses and the overall cost of living. Today pressures are being placed on families to consolidate their resources.
Understand your family dynamic. Identify what is your family need. You can go slowly into the water of combining families with the various temporary fixes available.
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Michael Owings Speaking on In-Law Suites
In the last couple of years, we have started specializing a little more in in-law suites, expanded families moving together. So I really enjoy this opportunity to talk to people about. We have done quite a few of them now. Over the past 10 years, I’d say we have done somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 or 50 related projects – between ramps and combined families and things like that.
There are a lot of cultures in societies that have combined their family resources. We are a little late coming to the game. What I think we are seeing now with the baby boomers is we have a healthy generation. We have a generation that has meds, doctors, and is living longer. What we are looking at now is that people don’t need to have the 4,000 sq ft house – they live to travel more – combine their resources. And I think the economy has a lot to do with it as well. We have seen a huge – in the last 4 years – an uptick in this type of activity.
The first thing you have to identify is – what part of the family has the need. In today’s world, we are seeing the younger family has as much of the need as the parents who are possibly merging with the family. So it is no longer a one-sided relationship. It’s not all about – hey, my parents need to move in – I need to find a room. It’s actually becoming more about – hey, we could use help – we are running around with our heads cut off, we have a lot of kid activities. So we are starting to see the trend be a little more down the middle. It’s not only the parents, but the kids are embracing this opportunity as well.
I have mentioned the last 4 years. Let’s go back to 2007 or maybe 2000. The latest and greatest thing was going to be the over 55 housing. And it did – there are a ton of them out there. What happened later, over the last 4 years. People have lost significant values in their homes. So they no longer have the assets to go to these over 55 communities, because they have lost up to 30% of their value. We are also seeing that this economic decline has contributed a lot to combined resources.
I think we all know that retirement plans are not what they used to be. I have no clue where the health care expenses are going, but I think we all know that it is expensive – it is a difficult burden on a family, no matter who you are. When you look at folks that are over 62-65, that they don’t have supplemental insurance, and they are just living off of their Medicare. It becomes a line item expense for a family. When we look at elderly parents, that don’t have supplemental income. We are looking at numbers like $20k – $30k in prescription medications and things like that.
All these combined pressures and you put it on these families. What you are seeing is that it makes more sense to consolidate your resources. That’s the value of two families moving together. What you see here is that it is a family unit. You have to understand your family dynamics. That is an important aspect of combining two families.
You don’t necessarily have to jump in a whole way. What we’ve discovered is that there is an opportunity to maybe put your toes in the water – don’t jump in the deep end. Maybe what you do is look at walking into this relationship at a slower pace. No big additions, don’t jump in with tear down this thing and start over again. There is a lot of temporary solutions that families can figure out where they can go from there.