Familiar cultural and architectural cues in new-home designs go a long way toward making a house feel like home for foreign buyers. Here are a few elements to consider.
Studies show that home buyers with international backgrounds are more likely than U.S. buyers to group extended family members under one roof. This means American builders must offer layouts that can accommodate many generations.
Many builders report that foreign multigenerational households prefer floor plans with more than one master suite - usually one on the ground level and another on a second or third level-over homes with accessory in-law units, which are the preferred choice for American multigenerational households.
This divide in home preferences may stem from differences in cultural norms related to family and privacy. In a double-master home, all generations share the same common spaces, ideal for residents accustomed to sharing a home with their parents or children on a long-term basis.
"Many cultures have an expectation that parents will devote their lives to their children in every way. Education, culture, and quality of life for the children is job one. In return, as the children become self-sufficient adults and [as] their parents age, they take care of their parents," says MBK's Rick Fletcher. "This custom passes on from generation to generation. The multi-gen household formation has existed for centuries in Asian and other cultures, so an integrated home feels natural."
On the other hand, in-law units usually include a separate entrance, garage, and kitchen area, with an interior door between the private part of the residence and main family home. This reflects a preference for private space and a desire for independence, and mimics the American norm of generations living apart.