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Family Compound

I recently read that there's a new trend in real estate. Apparently the newest thing is family vacation compounds in sunbelt areas. A family typically buys a large parcel of land and then has one large main house built that's large enough to accomodate events and meals for the entire extended family. Then smaller homes are built around this main house with outdoor common areas left open for recreation. This is a very interesting concept but I'm having a hard time believing it's going to really take off.

First of all, I don't know about your extended family, but for mine, organizing one large family vacation is challenging enough. (I was in charge of one for our family just last year!) Coordinating schedules, getting everyone to agree on what they want, where they want to go and how much they want to pay is a pretty complicated undertaking. Now imagine you have to get everyone to agree on all these things for a permanent compound!

Resale potential is a bit tricky. These are apparently generally designed one at a time for each family. That makes this a very unique property with a very limited pool of potential buyers. And, what if, over time, some families want to sell their individual cottages/homes? How does that get handled?

Then there are the financial questions, both initial and ongoing. How do you divide up the costs? Again in my family there are fairly wide disparities in income. And, once families buy in, how do you share taxes, insurance and maintenance costs? What if someone falls on hard times? It seems like there are a plethora of ways for this to create hard feelings!

Oh, and is everyone going to want to spend their vacation in the same spot (with their relatives) every year? Given the costs involved will they be able to afford not to?

On the other hand, I live far from my siblings and parents and miss them very much. It would be great to be able to count on time together with them on a regular basis in a relaxed setting. It's an emotionally satisfying idea on paper. I'm just not sure we could pull it off and all remain on good terms!

What do you think?

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re: Family Compound

Posted by: Tina M Kinney
Date: May. 9, 2007
Hey Julie,

I think it would be hard to get people to vacation in one place although it's a nice idea.  I have family up and down the east coast.  Currently we get together at weddings (although no one is getting married lately) and funerals.  Sometimes when we get relatives visiting from other countries we get together.  But we never have everyone in the same place at the same time. 

re: Family Compound

Posted by: Julie Emery
Date: May. 9, 2007


Thank you for your comments!

I agree! Nice idea but it just doesn't seem practical for most families!

Julie Emery

re: Family Compound

Posted by: Mary Pope-Handy
Date: May. 10, 2007
I have heard of people doing this not with vacation homes, but their regular ones!  A gal I know just moved to Austin for this reason. That said, it's not really a family compound - more like a "takeover" on a new subdivision. The family got several of the homes/lots on the same street. No financial issues as each one bought directly from the builder.

re: Family Compound

Posted by: Julie Emery
Date: May. 11, 2007


Thanks for your comment! That would definitely get rid of the financial issues. But now instead of only being together with your whole family on vacations you get them year round! As much as I love them all that would probably be too much for me!

Julie Emery

re: Family Compound

Posted by: Marie T. Van Kampen
Date: May. 11, 2007

 I have not lived near family for several years.  When I did they were in the same neighborhood and it was nice.  My husband's grandparents lived a couple of blocks away and helped babysit, house repairs and remodeling, shopping.  It was great.  We celebrated birthdays, anniversaries and holidays together.  We also went picknicking and had barbeques near the lake.

re: Family Compound

Posted by: Julie Emery
Date: May. 12, 2007


That sounds idyllic! Thanks for sharing the wonderful side of this! I can see where if you're a parent with young children there would be some wonderful things about this! Who couldn't use some more support from loving family in a world where we're all stretched so thin!

Thanks for your comment!


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