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Tips for the multi-generational homestead wanted

 
pioneer
Posts: 102
Location: New Braunfels, TX, Zone 8b, multi-generational suburban household
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Hello y'all,

We don't have land yet, but we do have a suburban multi-generational household composed of my parents, my husband and I, and our daughter (with hopes of more children). We have been talking about sharing some land for a few years now and have been living together for the past year. Having two families in one home obviously has its struggles, but regardless we all still want to continue with our dream of homesteading together (but in separate homes!)

With that short introduction, I want to know. Do you have a multi-generational homestead? Give me some details! Where do you live, how much land do you share, one home or multiple, how many generations, is labor pretty split or is one family more permie than the other (thus doing more labor), what's your greatest struggle and greatest joy living with family (or strangers), and what's your #1 tip for the multi-generational homestead?

And if you know of any blogs or great resources for an aspiring multi-generation homestead, please let me know! I also am quite curious about the pragmatic side of sharing the land, we probably will have to buy raw land and so we'd need to know how to legally get around that. In our particular case, it looks like my parents will be buying land on their own and allowing us to build on it, but we'll see!
 
Posts: 21
Location: East Tennessee, zone 7A-ish
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We have a multi-generational household. My mother, my husband, myself & our teenage son live in 1 house on about 90 acres.

Mom took over a lot of the cooking and dishes when she moved in. I handle the garden, chickens, dogs, and keeping track of my son's online schooling. My husband builds and fixes.

Greatest joy is being able to spend more than just a few days at a time with my mom. Greatest struggle? Probably just accepting that everyone has their own way of doing things. I still occasionally find myself re-organizing the spice drawer or whatever, lol.

#1 tip- Talk. Don't assume everyone is on the same page. And try to give everybody some space/privacy, particularly if you're living in one house.

I don't know what you mean by, "need to know how to legally get around that". As far as the pragmatic side, you may want any agreements spelled out legally.
 
author & gardener
Posts: 667
Location: Southeastern U.S. - Zone 7b
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Rebecca, I think that's fantastic. Back in the day, multi-generational households were the norm, but our society has become so age-segregated that we've lost any idea of how valuable that kind of household can be. I always think of Amish families, and think they are something of a good model for families taking care of one another.

My husband and I had a brief go with multi-generational homesteading. Unfortunately, ours was a disaster. So, this is what I wish we'd done beforehand.

Start with a family discussion. Have each person share their vision of a future homestead. Homesteading means different things to different people, so you want to make sure everyone is on the same sheet of music, so to speak. (By "you" here, I mean each person). Discuss why you want to homestead, what's the primary reason, what each person sees as their goals for a homestead. What would be the priorities to get started? How would you divide that chores and labor? Single home or separate dwelling places? What progress would you like to see a year from getting started? 5 years? 10 years? Seriously, it's better not to make assumptions and assume everything will work out because you're family.

Rebecca Blake wrote:... we probably will have to buy raw land and so we'd need to know how to legally get around that. In our particular case, it looks like my parents will be buying land on their own and allowing us to build on it, but we'll see!


I'm guessing the one big question is, what happens when one or both of your parents passes away. I agree you need to be legally prepared for that. Your best course of action would be to consult a lawyer in the state you purchase the land in. One good possibility is to name both you and your parents on the deed. If you obtain the property strictly through inheritance (i.e. you're not on the deed), what kind of taxes, etc., will you be looking at? You'd also want to ask about wills for both your parents and you and your husband. Are there other siblings who might want to get involved in the homestead in the future or who might potentially take issue with the arrangement?

It sounds like you already have a good arrangement with your folks, and that's an excellent start. Still, you need to take all steps possible to ensure the excellent start turns into an excellent family homestead.
 
Rebecca Blake
pioneer
Posts: 102
Location: New Braunfels, TX, Zone 8b, multi-generational suburban household
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Tammy Farraway wrote:Greatest struggle? Probably just accepting that everyone has their own way of doing things. I still occasionally find myself re-organizing the spice drawer or whatever, lol.



Hah! I found this comment particularly funny because that's one thing I've changed in my parent's current kitchen since moving in, I created a spice drawer! I got sick of never being able to find the spices when cooking!

I also feel that 'accepting that everyone has their own way of doing things.' on a deep level. I stayed with a religious community for a short while (they're kind of like nuns, but not technically nuns) and that was the biggest annoyance! My dish washing technique was perfectly fine one day and horrendous the next day, all because a different person was supervising! Looking back, it's actually quite comical, but I'm not sure that kind of behavior would fly with family!
 
master gardener
Posts: 2114
Location: southern Illinois.
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My mother-in-law lived with us for several years before she died. She had lived through the depression on a farm.  I found her to be a valuable source of information.   Of course, she learned a great deal from us as well.  For example, while she knew canning, she was amazed by our dehydrator. She also could not figure out why her daughter insisted on making her own bread instead of going to the store.
 
Rebecca Blake
pioneer
Posts: 102
Location: New Braunfels, TX, Zone 8b, multi-generational suburban household
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John F Dean wrote:My mother-in-law lived with us for several years before she died. She had lived through the depression on a farm.  I found her to be a valuable source of information.   Of course, she learned a great deal from us as well.  For example, while she knew canning, she was amazed by our dehydrator. She also could not figure out why her daughter insisted on making her own bread instead of going to the store.



I can only imagine the change in the quality of the store bought bread she purchased in her youth versus what we have now. I'd probably be confused about the bread baking myself in her shoes! I just started baking my own bread these past few weeks... and man it's a lot of work- especially when you're new at it and just learning.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1437
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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Some ideas;
- separate workshops for different people
- Moto X track for grandpa
- communal cooking
 
pollinator
Posts: 1047
Location: Pac Northwest, east of the Cascades
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A decent youtube channel is https://www.youtube.com/user/AnAmericanHomestead which is 2 families though recently they lost a family member.
 
Rebecca Blake
pioneer
Posts: 102
Location: New Braunfels, TX, Zone 8b, multi-generational suburban household
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John C Daley wrote:Some ideas;
- separate workshops for different people
- Moto X track for grandpa
- communal cooking



Communal cooking is by far one of my favorite advantages of currently living with my parents! Especially when I was a self proclaimed 'hater of cooking', though that has changed a bit since I started growing some of our own food and purchasing from a CSA.

I'm definitely having trouble imagining my dad on a Moto cross track! But our friends already have one we can borrow if he feels so inclined. ;)
 
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Look into a family trust, and have the property owned by that trust.

Via the trust you can specify that your kids get it, that only if both of them want to sell it they can, or no one can, or whatever you want to do. It's pretty much built exactly for things like this. All in a family trust will set you back $3K or so.
 
Rebecca Blake
pioneer
Posts: 102
Location: New Braunfels, TX, Zone 8b, multi-generational suburban household
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Tony Hawkins wrote:Look into a family trust, and have the property owned by that trust.

Via the trust you can specify that your kids get it, that only if both of them want to sell it they can, or no one can, or whatever you want to do. It's pretty much built exactly for things like this. All in a family trust will set you back $3K or so.



Thanks for sharing, that's good to know.
 
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We have a multi-generational household; less than an acre at this point, though, but a big house.  What has worked for us is having designated spaces and then a few common areas.  For example, this is my kitchen cupboard and anything put in there that doesn't belong to me is going to the thrift shop (it only took two times of my putting it in the thrift shop box for this to sink in.)  Or, this is your bathroom, and no I'm not going to clean it for you.  Having one final authority (my husband, because it's our house) works, too.  He has occasionally had to have a discussion with my father or my son-in-law. We all mostly agree, but there are points where we are polar opposites.  In that case, my husband's word reigns.  That was the agreement when they moved in.  I'd put it writing, too, just so there's no confusion.  Also, that way, you can point the agreement as the bad guy instead of it being a person.  The women in the household are pretty good at picking up the common areas or doing dishes when they're needed.  If someone feels that they're doing more than their share, we're good about telling each other.  We don't do the communal cooking; the kitchen is too small.  They're late eaters; we're early eaters.  I usually make enough for everyone early on, but if I don't, one of them will cook later.

When their student loans are paid off and they have enough to put down on a house, we'll sell and move to a place where we can retire on some land.  At that point, we may take one of the other children with us, depending upon how ambitious we're feeling.  For now, any uncomfortability is worth having the grandbaby here.
 
John F Dean
master gardener
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Location: southern Illinois.
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Hi Rebecca

Do remember that having store bought bread, at one time, was a status symbol.    In fact, at one point in history, people would mount rolling pens on their kitchen  wall to prove they were purchasing their baked goods.  Things have changed.....  and then changed again.
 
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