This is the second post in a three-part series about how millennials are changing home dynamics and how families can adapt to their needs. Read the first post of the series here: “Why are Millennials Really Living at Home?”
A number of surveys over recent years demonstrate that millennials value home ownership, but many do not consider themselves financially capable of buying. These concerns have led to broad shifts in living arrangements among people in the 18-to-34-year-old age range as compared to recent generations. More young people than ever are foregoing marriage, living alone, or living with roommates. And more young people are living with parents or family members for the first time since World War II.
If you’re a parent with millennial children who may move back home, it’s important to recognize that things can’t go back to the way they were when your kids were in high school. They’re older, you’re older, and as adults you each need a little more space. Here are three home features you need to survive living with your adult children.
Create Options for Guests—Both Short and Long Term
The economy may be steadily recovering, but it can still be tough out there for young professionals juggling steady employment and a dynamic personal life. Whether it’s unexpected cutbacks, unstable rental situations, or changing relationship statuses, your child will hit hurdles that may mean quickly moving out of their living situation. Are you prepared to help?
Not all millennials who move back home want to or need to do so permanently. Some just need a week or two to get back onto their feet before they settle into something new. Consider cleaning and revamping your guest quarters to make these quick transitions easier on you, as well. Stop stuffing your guest closet or dresser with old holiday decorations, unread magazines, and crafting supplies. Declutter and prepare the space for someone who may need to spread out for a few weeks.
Have a Separate Entrance
Even if your children are not party animals, they likely keep a different schedule than do you. It’s important to respect their ability to come and go without feeling like they have to seek permission or that they’re upsetting your regular routine. Consider all the entrances to your home in relation to your guest areas, and have extra keys ready for those peripheral doors. Putting a guest room near its own secure entrance gives your kids privacy to come and go as they please.
Invest in a Mother-in-Law Suite or Carriage House
If you have the resources and opportunity, building a mother-in-law suite or carriage house—or buying a home with one already—is a great investment in the short and long term. For adult children living at home, these spaces removed from the main living space give them the most freedom and autonomy possible. They also mark clear avenues for contribution, like a monthly “rent” or bill share, that help bolster your children’s self confidence as an adult and a member of the household.
After your kids are back on their path, the carriage home can remain a great income producer for you if you are open to accepting regular renters.
Whatever You do, Respect is Key
Whatever solutions work best for your property, your goal in taking back in your millennial children for a period of time should be to make the situation as comfortable as possible for all the adults in the home. Moving back home isn’t everyone’s first choice, but sometimes it can be a necessary one to make. Whether for a week or for an indefinite timeframe, setting up your guest quarters respectfully from the beginning can set your children up for success in their next living situation.
Many millennials may feel that home ownership is beyond their reach, but with the right know-how and resources, there are still many opportunities available for first-time homebuyers.
Read the third part of the series here: “5 Things Every Millennial Should Know about Buying a Home.”