Building or Buying a Home With Your Parents

Sohil Merchant

This as-told-to article is based on a discussion with San Diego, California-based elementary school teacher Jonathan C., age 30 says Sohil Merchant

In 2020, my parents and I decided to make a more long-term joint investment in our living circumstances after living together intermittently over the previous ten years.

The COVID-19 pandemic had just begun when I had returned to their Southern California home, so the three of us decided to search for a “faux rural” property. We sought a location that was outside of San Diego yet just a short drive from the city.

When an opportunity presented itself in the form of an empty lot being sold by a divorced couple for a significant discount, the choice to build a house was made. We started working on the project in May 2020, and it is now finished. Our favorite.

We Desired to Flee

At the beginning of the epidemic, there was a lot of pressure to find a way out of everything. In the heat of the moment, it was a fear-based choice, but now it has paid off for different reasons. I was liable for the remaining 40% of the building expenditures, with my parents paying the remaining 60%.

We’re a middle-class family, so we spent between $250,000 to $600,000 to construct a typical two-story, five-bedroom Southern California house south of San Diego.

We didn’t need to employ a contractor because my dad is a construction worker, which allowed us to save a lot of money overall. We were able to save money on plumbing, energy, and other things thanks to his contacts.

My Job Without a Job Evolved Into It.

I was relying heavily on my savings from the eight years before. Like many other individuals, I lost my work in the early months of the pandemic. However, throughout the year and a half that I was unemployed, the inability to find work allowed me to actively participate in the construction process.

My mother and I worked in shifts of ten hours to supervise the construction at the lot. The initial phase was the most challenging because you were merely waiting for queries from the builders in a deserted lot.

My dad and I had a lot of difficult disagreements because we are all financially tethered to this place. There was a lot of strain during the construction since so many minor problems were coming up. But ever since the project was finished, everything has gone smoothly.

Utilize your options

Living with my parents as an adult has been rather pleasant. They have grown to be two of my best friends now that I am older and don’t go out every weekend, and I’m so thrilled I can say that.

I find it very strange that a parent would treat their child in such a strange way. In the US, there is this idea of moving out at 18 or having to pay rent to your parents. Growing up, I heard the advice to go to school, find a solid profession, and then start assisting the family as a Mexican-American.

It feels like a blessing that we could assist each other in achieving this as the youngest of five children and a gay man without children.

There are factors you need to consider before taking this step

Factors to Consider Before Building or Buying a Home With Your Parents

Prior Before Looking

Be realistic about how well you and your family could get along as roommates as well as how joyfully you could all purchase a home together, a difficult task even in the best of conditions. Setting ground rules and having some uncomfortable conversations up front may be necessary.

On the Prowl

Find a broker that is knowledgeable about the neighborhood and the multifamily market there once you have selected where you will be shopping for a house. Remember that when deciding what kind of home to buy, the older generation’s concerns should be carefully considered if they are leaving a long-standing family home for a brand-new neighborhood.

Finding a real estate agent with a multigenerational living experience might make the process easier. For instance, there are some agents that help Chinese and Korean families in the Fort Lee, New Jersey, neighborhood purchase multimillion-dollar homes. One Korean-American expressed sympathy for Asian parents whose offspring have immigrated to the country.

Before Signing Anything

Multifamily dwellings may be subject to complex zoning, insurance, and tax laws depending on the location. Therefore, it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer who can assist you in determining any potential zoning concerns in addition to locating a contractor to complete the necessary improvements.

As You Enter

When several generations are involved, the administrative work that comes with a home purchase can turn into a full-time job. To prevent having one side shoulder the majority of the workload, you should talk about how the job will be distributed. You need to seek a highly qualified individual with a lot of positive Yelp reviews.


Property ownership between generations is feasible. All parties must, however, approach the situation with an open mind. There should be a written contract in place that outlines the obligations of each party. Hopefully, there will never be a need to use the agreement. Any disagreement that does occur in its absence, however, may be costly and time-consuming to resolve. An agreement might aid in managing the parties’ initial expectations, says Sohil Merchant.


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