The Calgary Herald recently featured a news item that serve an affirmation of housing trend in Calgary: multigenerational homes. Reporting about Harmony, Bordeaux Developments Corporation's new development with special focus on multi-generational community located in Springbank Hill, the news item said that multi-generational homes address the triple bottom-lines of economy, environment and social equity.
Birol Fisekci, president and CEO of Bordeaux Developments Corp. says this development “demonstrates leadership with a focus on one fundamental principle -respect. Respect should be at the root of any topic we deal with," he says. "If it is Harmony we are discussing, then it is respecting the environment, being fiscally responsible so we are not burdening the county with additional costs and being socially responsible to ensure those living in Harmony can enjoy an enhanced lifestyle from what they had before. It's about respect for a triple-bottom-line approach to development."
The triple bottom-line approach to housing and real estate refers to homes designed for several generations of a single family in order to save energy, space, money, and fuel. What are the pros and cons of living in multigenerational houses?
Pros of Buying a Multigenerational Home
- You help save the environment - You help save the environment in a lot of ways. You cut down on energy consumption. Just think of it this way: because the grandparents are living with their children and grandchildren, a whole household consumption of energy is saved. They now share the same lights, the same television, the same kitchen appliances, the same garage etc. That is energy savings at its best. You cut down on water consumption. By the same principle as above, you save water. One less garden requires watering.
- You save money - Because several generations live in the same space, more money is saved. And that is not just from homes mortgages, community fees, utilities bills, and parking lots. You save money from a combined grocery shopping. You can buy in bulk at wholesale prices or with volume discounts. You can also save a lot of money from the opportunity cost of not going to work to visit grandma, not to mention the cost of gas.
- Family bonding is easier - The social bottomline is a close family bond and a potential for stronger community ties. Senior citizens can form an association among themselves while the youth may bond through clubs and organizations. The elder generation will be there to support when the parents quarrel with their children by providing much needed wisdom. The younger generation can provide the strength and the energy to revive the interest and the passion among the old ones. It will be a win-win situation when managed properly.
Cons of Buying a Multigenerational Home
- Different needs - The major difficulty would be trying to create a home and an atmosphere where the different needs of each generation are addressed. How to create a room where the senior citizens experience silence and peace of mind while in another room, the young ones are screaming their hearts out. It also includes a careful meal planning as the diets of the elder generations are different from the younger ones.
- Renovations -Most of the houses in Calgary, especially those found in older developments like Mount Royal, Bowness, Bel Aire and others are not designed for multi-generational living. So, there might be initial costs in making a wheelchair runway and stuff like that.
What to Keep in Mind When Shopping For a Multigenerational Home
Shopping for a multigenerational home takes time. It's important to look for a home that is accessible, especially for those with limited mobility. There should be enough room for everyone to have privacy when they need it. Special consideration should be taken when planning a home that is going to have very young children and elderly grandparents, especially when it comes to the safety of the home. A multigenerational home should include easy access into the home, space for people to relax, and a backyard to play in, garden, or simply enjoy an evening outside. Each single adult will need a private bedroom, while couples will share. More than one bathroom will be necessary, as well as room in the dining room or kitchen to have a large table where everyone can sit down together at one time.
Buy a Multigenerational Home in Calgary Today
With the climate changes affecting global economy, it is possible that living in multi-generational homes in not just a trend in Calgary but cultural shift. There is no cause of alarm though because innovations provide various tools to make it easier, and experiences from Asian countries where people have been living in multi-generational homes for centuries are documented for adaptation. It will be a blast.
Justin Havre is the top producing REALTOR® with RE/MAX First, Canada's very first RE/MAX brokerage. Calgary real estate is his passion; Justin specializes in Southwest & Northwest Calgary homes for sale. He can be reached at 403.217.0003 or contacted through this site.