More homebuyers are looking for homes to accommodate multiple generations of their family, according to a survey released by Coldwell Banker Real Estate this week.

More than a third, 37 percent, of surveyed Coldwell Banker real estate sales agents said they had seen an increase in clients with adult children or a grandparent who would be living with the family, and almost 70 percent expected that share to increase during the next year, the survey said.

The biggest proportion of respondents, 39 percent, cited financial concerns as the main driver behind the trend, while 29 percent cited health care issues and 9 percent cited a strong family bond as the motivating factor, the survey said.

"While saving money is certainly an incentive for buying a home that accommodates multiple generations, the benefits go beyond just financial reasons," said Diann Patton, a consumer specialist for the company.

"With two or three generations living under one roof, families often experience more flexible schedules, quality time with one another and can better juggle childcare and elder care."

Real estate professionals selling homes with "mother-in-law suites" or spaces such as a refurbished basement or garage apartment should highlight those features to potential buyers, the survey said.

The survey also advised buyers to communicate what they want to each other, as well as their agent, and advised families to come up with a written contract that outlines responsibilities for finances, chores, and caregiving.

For the agent, "buyers must be clear about their exact needs. Some families may just want an extra bedroom or two for family members, while others require areas with a separate kitchen, entrance, handicap accessibility or even a larger garage for additional cars. Desired location may also be influenced by proximity to local hospitals, senior centers or other important activities to family members," the survey said.

Coldwell Banker, which has 3,300 residential real estate offices and about 100,000 sales associates globally, conducted the national online survey in January and received 2,360 responses.

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