Thursday, January 6, 2011


Just a short while back, grown children would leave their parents home and venture forth to build their own futures.  Here we are in 2011 and those same children are either moving back into the nest or their parents are moving in with them.

I know from personal experience how this effects families.  My mother, about 6 years before she passed away, asked us if she could live with us rather than sell her home and move into a home for "old people" as she liked to call retirement homes.  Of course we said yes and the last years she was with us were filled with evenings talking about family, friends and the good old days.  I miss those days.

But what was unusual just a few years ago is becoming the norm today.  Parents are living longer and their children would rather have them live at their home than go into the "old people" place.  Grown children are moving in with their parents in increasing numbers because of unemployment or huge debt loads.  Sometimes there can be up to four generations under one roof. 

It can take some adjustments for everyone involved but it works.

The housing industry is starting to design homes to reflect these changes.  But the modular industry is still looking at multigenerational homes as an anomaly instead of actually embracing it.  I have found no standard plans that address it.

So what are the changes the modular factories should put in their latest floorplans?

  • Dual Master Suites - your parents can't live in little Timmy's room.  They need privacy and so do you.
  • First Floor Master Suites - parents don't need stairs.
  • Lower lever living space - Bi-level and raised ranch homes will make a comeback.  Where better to put junior, his wife and children but on their on floor.
  • Finished areas above the garage -  most factories don't build garages but if they could sell panelized garage walls that are engineered for a 2 module living space above...well, go for it.
  • Separate entrances - this is a must in mixed homes.
  • Second kitchens - there is nothing that spells independence more than your own kitchen.
  • Separate private spaces - can you imagine being retired, living with your child and being forced to watch the Bachelor and Biggest Loser every week?  Yuck!

But here is another biggee!  Retired Boomers are adding apartments to their homes for additional income.  But this income isn't just generated by renting to college students and young married couples.  These rental units are being occupied by other single or widowed retirees.

The factory that assigns one of their designers to the task of creating some new floor plans to address these new living situations will ride the wave until other factories see the benefits and either design their own plans or steal yours.  Like that would ever happen!


Anonymous said...

Coach, you make it sound like everyone living together is a good thing. It isn't

Anonymous said...

You're right on Coach. Unfortunately alot of upper management in these modular companies came up from the production side of things or worse are not from the housing industry at all. I read recently in an automotive magazine an excerpt about GM. It said that for years Product Development reported to Production. This lead to products being built that they knew they could instead of products the customers wanted. This seems to be true in our industry as well. It should make the factory owners rethink their companies structure from the top down. After all the definition of insanity is keep doing what you've always done and expect a different result, right?

Leroy said...

Coach, I am totally with you on the garage no one even thought to try and sell me a garage with my home. I intend on building one ,but you would think the subject would have come up.Coould have been a nice profit boost.