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What You Should Know Before Building an In-Law Suite

As assisted living costs continue to rise, many seniors are choosing to move in with their children and grandkids. This is sometimes known as a multi-generational home, but instead of taking the spare bedroom upstairs, they’re moving into their own private in-law suite.

This is a private space that is usually attached to or located on the same lot as their grown child’s house. Many in-law suites are custom-built home additions, though converted garages, basements and stand-alone guest houses are also common. The creation of an in-law suite within your home, can have a lasting impact on both the usability of your home and inadvertently a higher resale value if you decide to sell later on.


The cost to build an in-law suite varies by the type of space and how much work is needed to make that space livable. Statistically, the one-time cost to build an in-law suite pales in comparison to the annual cost of assisted living communities. But money aside, being surrounded by family is better for your parent’s well-being too.


Since we are getting more and more calls to build such spaces, and to help our homeowners plan & prepare, we have put together some tips for getting a project like this get underway.


Check Your Local Building Codes

The very first step is checking with your local building code office who will determine what you can build and where. Adding any new living space will require permits or may even be banned by local zoning rules that prohibit residential areas from building additional dwellings. It is best to always check first before getting too far into project planning.


Find the Right Spot for Your In-Law Suite

Planning out a simple and efficient design is the best way to keep your loved one safe. Providing this space in your home’s basement is usually the most cost-effective way to add a living space. But, depending on your parent’s age and abilities, having a walk-out basement or garage level suite might be ideal to avoid troubles with stairs now or in the future.


Plan A Comfortable Living Space

For a comfortable living space, the four key in-law suite rooms to include would be a bedroom, full bathroom, living room and a kitchenette or full kitchen, if possible. This will give your loved one the ability to thrive independently within their own accord and without overlapping with your family’s schedules. Be proactive and make sure their new accommodations are made to age with them. This includes installing no step entrances, pull out drawers, grab bars and shower seats, lever door handles, and other appropriate amenities.


Separate the Suite’s Utilities from Your Main Home

Separating utilities from the main house will allow you to switch them off if the space ever goes unoccupied for a long stretch of time. And if you end up renting the space out to another occupant down the line, you can easily split the bills.


For questions about incorporating an in-law suite into your home, please contact us for an in-home remodeling consultation.


Check out one of our recent in-law suites!




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