Sharing a plex with the family, a good idea?

Sharing a plex as a family, a good idea?  

“My mother sometimes knocks on my doorstep while I'm working. Worse, sometimes I have dates and she'll look out the window to see what they look like. It's sickening. »

Your parents suggest you buy a plex with your family so that you can all live there? Financially, it's tempting. But is being the immediate neighbor of dad-mom really what we want in adulthood? Let's weigh the pros and cons.  

Gioia Cazzaniga recently purchased a triplex in Verdun with her sister and parents. The latter had always cherished the dream of finding themselves again under the same roof.  

The young woman said she was reassured to live near her aging parents, because it allowed her to see them more.   

However, this is not always ideal. “My mother sometimes comes and knocks on my house while I am working. Worse, sometimes I have dates and she'll look out the window to see what they look like. It's uncomfortable,” she told Métro.  

Risk of conflict  

But there are also (and above all) advantages. “My father has a lot of renovation experience; he knows what it is to be an owner. Me, I have no idea what I'm doing. If he wasn't there to manage, it would be a lot more stressful. There, I trust him. »  

While taking on more responsibility and mental workload makes Gioia’s dad happy, it might not be the case in other families.   

“When we are a group, there is a natural law that it is always the same people who will manage or do the chores, and eventually, that can create tensions”, believes Martin Provencher, author of several books on the real estate.   

Gioia is also aware that, the day her father will be gone, tensions could perhaps arise between her sister and her around the responsibilities related to their co-ownership.  

Besides, even before the plex is purchased, conflicts can arise. Andrée Tardif tells Metrothat she was supposed to acquire a triplex with her cousin and his wife, but that due to ineffective communication, the couple ended up leaving her out of the project without even telling her. Andrée had been laid off by her employer because of COVID-19, but she remained convinced that the project would go ahead as soon as she returned to work. Her cousin, however, did not wait for her. The lack of communication on both sides would be the cause of the failure of the project, she believes. “That was the first conflict in life between me and my cousin.” The cold lasted a long time, but luckily they got back in touch. 

To avoid slip-ups – remediable or not – with his family, “the rules and responsibilities of each must be clear and well established from the start,” says Charles Brant, director of market analysis for the Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers of Quebec (APCIQ).  

Impossible without parental help  

Andrée Tardif says she was doubly disappointed with the abortion of the purchase project with her cousin since she considers that she does not have the means to buy a property for herself. 

This is the same reason that prompted Gioia and her sister to buy a plex with their parents. They didn't really envision it at first, but they eventually realized that in today's market, they would never be able to be owners on their own, even though Gioia feels she has “a very good job. ”.   

They weren't wrong. As the president of the APCIQ, Marc Lacasse, indicates, “nowadays, it has become almost impossible for a first buyer to acquire a property without the help of the parents”.  &nbsp ;

Rising property values, rising interest rates and inflation have drastically diminished the purchasing power of the new generation of buyers.    

Homeowners in the baby-boomer generation got very rich with real estate; they were able to buy properties at low cost at the time and can now sell them at a high price, explains Charles Brant. Their children can therefore take advantage of it if mom and dad want it.  

Thus, according to statistics from the APCIQ, in Quebec, in 2021, 20% of the first buyers had received a contribution their parents.  

For proximity  

The financial aspect has become the main consideration for the purchase of family properties. But, traditionally, that was not the case. The reasons were more sentimental, related to family affiliation. People bought a property with their loved ones out of a desire to be close to them.   

“This formula allowed parents, often newly retired, to have someone to watch over their house if they were going on vacation. On the other hand, it allowed children who were starting to give birth themselves to have grandparents not too far away for free babysitting,” says Marc Lacasse.   

Certain communities, in particular the Italians of the east of Montreal, adhered to it more than others, notes Charles Brant. Historically, native Quebecers were more independent of their families. Until it's no longer possible… 

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