Housing the extended family - Albuquerque Journal

Housing the extended family

Tour to feature about 65 metro-area homes catering to multigenerational living

Oh, the joys of the extended family.

Come see how some kinfolk manage to live together peaceably under the same roof during a real-estate tour/open house of multiple-generation homes sponsored by several dozen Albuquerque Realtors on the afternoon of next Sunday, Sept. 22. The event is a widespread open house featuring about 65 metro-area homes which advertise some of the amenities of multigenerational homes listed for sale in the Multiple Listing Service.

The multigenerational buzzwords that inspired a listing in this first-time multigenerational open house include descriptions such as in-law quarters; guest homes and casitas; double master suites and living rooms; separate home entrances; or multiple wings. The Open House tour is sponsored by about 50 different real-estate agents hosting houses currently listed for sale.

“Most are fairly large homes,” says Laura Warden of Choices Real Estate. Warden, the tour organizer whom some may recall helping to put together a successful Open House of “horse properties” a year ago, This time, in addition to the dozens of real estate colleagues, she has secured the sponsorship of Old Republic Title Office and Cummings Financial.

The open houses are spread throughout the Albuquerque metro area, as well as Placitas, Corrales, Rio Rancho, Bernalillo and Valencia counties. It’s a self-guided driving tour. Maps and descriptions can be found online at www.extended-family-homes.com, or may be picked up in advance at the two participating mortgage and finance companies.

Home prices in the tour start at $169,500 for a 1,526-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath house at 1024 11th NW. The most expensive house on the tour is a 5,129-square-foot home on two acres at 1608 Narcisa Court NW in the North Valley listed at $1,494,900. The home features six bathrooms, four bedrooms and two living areas; the Realtor is Larry Cobb of Pargin Realty ERA.

This single-story home at 11,520 Del Rey NE in North Albuquerque Acres, included in the multi-generational tour, is really two distinct homes connected via a laundry-room breezeway. Together the homes offer about 4,000 square feet of living space in separate east and west wings. The property is priced at $889,000. (Courtesy of Eric Trujillo with StyleToursABQ)
This single-story home at 11,520 Del Rey NE in North Albuquerque Acres, included in the multi-generational tour, is really two distinct homes connected via a laundry-room breezeway. Together the homes offer about 4,000 square feet of living space in separate east and west wings. The property is priced at $889,000. (Courtesy of Eric Trujillo with StyleToursABQ)

A charming casita and former art studio is part of a northern territorial-style home on three acres at 14 Davis Loop in Placitas. The casita has been converted into a guest house with separate bath, bedroom and kitchen. It is listed for $400,000 by Jim Sutton of Century 21 Unica Realty. Seating areas, patios and firepits area easily accessible by members of both households.

Check out the “house inside a house” at 11,520 Del Rey NE in North Albuquerque Acres. Actually two distinct homes connected via a laundry-room breezeway, the homes offer about 4,000 square feet of living space in distinctive east and west wings. Together there are five bedrooms and five baths. The sale is being handled by Lorri Zumwalt of Q Realty Inc.; the price is $889,000.

An 80-acre compound with two full-size homes and a guest casita will be one of the tour highlights in the East Mountains at 30 Twin Peaks. Appraised at more than $2 million in the height of the real-estate craze about five years ago, the compound owned by Art and Dixie Swenka seems a bargain at the current price of about $599,000 for the three homes on 20 acres. An additional 60 acres is available for an additional $291,000. The property is being shown by Laura Warden of Choices Real Estate. The main home has more than 3,000 square feet of living space; a detached casita connected to the home by a walkway deck offers 800 square feet, and a guest home has about 1,800 square feet. The second home, built in 1993, is about 1,800 square feet in size and had been used by Dixie Swenka’s sister. The family members, now in their 70s, have since moved to another compound at a nearby family ranch.

“Sure, privacy is a big thing, but you want to be close enough that you can look after each other,” said Swenka. “Someone gets sick or hurt and you can get to them quickly.”

Recent statistics tell the story of extended-family households. An estimated 5.1 million households had multiple adult generations living together in the United States at the time of the 2010 Census. And the number is growing – that’s more than a 20 percent increase from the previous decade, according to USA Today.

This northern New Mexico-style home at 14 Davis Loop in Placitas has a detached guest casita. An elderly parent or grown child could easily live in the casita or the home itself. The property is offered for sale at $400,000. This shows the interior of the casita, with its kitchen area in the rear. (Courtesy of Steve Sugar)
This northern New Mexico-style home at 14 Davis Loop in Placitas has a detached guest casita. An elderly parent or grown child could easily live in the casita or the home itself. The property is offered for sale at $400,000. This shows the interior of the casita, with its kitchen area in the rear. (Courtesy of Steve Sugar)

While such statistics may be a measure of economic woes, the reasons cited by multigenerational dwellers are not always hard-luck stories, though plenty do abound, including the glut of recent foreclosures. Extended families may choose to live together out of economic necessity, but they also share homes for reasons ranging from health concerns to companionship.

The relatively new American custom of nuclear families living independently is being rattled by extended families. Grown children finishing college are coming home if jobs can’t be found. Elderly parents are moving in with the grown kids for caretaking and companionship – or to assist with child care for the younger, working generation. The customs of immigrants play a role.

Experts advise extended families to plan ways to provide privacy for all facets of the multigeneration household. Private entrances, master suites on different levels, and the division of the home into wings can help.

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