LOS ANGELES ( CBSLA.com) — Between rising rents and costly childcare, many families have been forced to find new creative ways to cope with the growing expenses, especially when it comes to buying a house.
Paul and Jenna Esquer are one of those families. They have two young children, and both work full time.
“It’s impossible to save $20,000, $30,000 for a down payment,” Jenna said.
The couple is close to Jenna’s parents and often relies on them for help with taking care of the kids. So they entertained the idea of moving in with Jenna’s father and mother.
“We used to like to go look at new houses. So we would go. And when they would have a bedroom on the bottom with its own kind of suite, we would joke around that that’s where they were going to live. They would say: ‘No that’s where you guys are going to stay,'” Paul recalled.
“We knew as soon as we walked in there that they would absolutely fall in love with it. My dad walked in sat on one of the chairs and said: ‘I’m home,'” Jenna was referring to the next-gen house they are living in now.
Valerie Sheets, a public relations director for Lennar Homes, said the developer has more than 40 developments in Southern California that now offer a “next-gen” model.
“Multi-generational living isn’t a new thing. People have been living together for years. People just didn’t have a home that really was designed specifically for them,” Sheets noted.
“I think if you’re looking for that family dynamic, and you want that arrangement, and you want to save money, I think it’s a win, win pretty much for everybody,” Sheet added.
A next-gen house typically includes a separate two-bedroom suite with its own exterior entrance, bathroom, kitchenette plus a washer and a dryer. It’s literally a home within a home.
“To us, it’s a very perfect scenario because we’re able to stay under one roof. We have separate residence, and we’re able to be with our grandchildren,” grandpa Jim Miller said.
“It gave us the room we need to give them, the space they needed. Everyone could be separate if they want or together when we wanted to,” Paul explained.
While the experience has been wonderful so far for the Esquers, Jenna cautioned: “It’s definitely not for everybody.”
“If someone is doing it just for money or just for convenience, it might not work. But if it’s something you want, it works great.”
Next-gen houses are not just for two-generation cohabitating. Some homeowners use the extra suite as a home office, music studio or place for their boomerang child, who is back living at home after going away for college.