December 16, 2017

Siblings Opt to Live Apart on Shared Property

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Siblings Opt to Live Apart on Shared Property

A new niche in multigenerational living is emerging for siblings who want to stay close to one another. Architects and home builders told The Wall Street Journal they’re fielding more requests from siblings who want to live in separate homes on the same property. Sometimes, the homes are built on property inherited by parents, or siblings may pool their money to buy together. By maintaining detached residences, there can be less tension and finances can remain separate, architects say.

One sister duo, Liz Willis and Kim Coates, discussed with the Journal how they make it work living next door to each other. They have different houses on an 8-acre property in Austin, Texas. Between the two homes is a swimming pool and pool house that they share.

Another group of siblings shared how they tore down an 8,000-square-foot home they inherited from their mother in the San Francisco area and subdivided the 1-acre lot among the two sisters and two brothers. The four houses range from 3,100 square feet to 3,700 square feet and are about 20 feet apart from one another. They’re connected by a shared swimming pool. The project cost about $7 million. “It’s been an interesting process—a little bit painful at times,” Steven Stept, a managing partner at Feldman Architecture in San Francisco, told the Journal.

Oftentimes, siblings who decide to build homes on the same property opt to divide ownership of the land under separate deeds. They could have a form of joint ownership (known as “tenancy in common”), but many say the question of what to do when one person wants to sell ultimately comes up, Jeff Dungan, an architect in Birmingham, Ala., told the Journal.

Source: “Why Some Siblings Become Neighbors,” The Wall Street Journal (Nov. 16, 2017)