What is a Mother-in-Law Suite, And Does it Add Property Value?

free-standing masonry mother-in-law suite

What is a mother-in-law suite?

A mother-in-law suite is an apartment or an extension for a parent-in-law or relative. The suite is either attached to a house or built on the same property that other family members live in. Often times, the purpose of a mother-in-law suite is to allow older family members to live with adult children while still maintaining their independence and privacy. Sometimes grandchildren live in the same house with their parents and grandparents. This type of living is known as a multi-generational household.

The concept of a mother-in-law suite or "granny flat" has been around for decades. It was popular in postwar America until zoning laws were passed that eventually shut down construction. Today the mother-in-law suite is experiencing a resurgence, be it part of a house that has been converted for another generation or a smaller, free-standing “granny flat”.

A typical mother-in-law suite consists of a bedroom, living area, kitchen and bathroom. It's separate from the rest of the house and household, but close enough for the grandparents to help out with the grandchildren, and close enough at the age of the grandparents for adult children to look after their parents.

Mother-in-law suites can be as simple as a single room with a bed, couch and dining area and access to a bathroom, but ideally it would have its own bathroom.

They can also be in a separate part of the house, e.g. B. in a basement with a separate door, a garage or a converted attic.

Why are mother-in-law suites so popular?

Mother-in-law suites are becoming more and more popular with families today. Corresponding USA today, approximately 51 million Americans live in multigenerational households, up 10% since 2007.

They are also so popular because this type of living enables both generations to share the financial responsibility associated with home ownership. As the cost of student loans continues to rise, some young adults leave college with debt. Mother-in-law suites provide an independent living situation that can help graduate students pay off that debt much faster than if they had to bear the rent or a mortgage on their own.

Another reason in-laws are so popular today is because of the fact that they are must zoom out and the sharp rise in the cost of assisted living facilities for aging adults. Nationwide, the average monthly assisted living cost in the United States is $ 4,050. This amount can be a financial burden for parents and children.

A third reason for the increased interest in a “in-law” is the increasing number of people who can work from home on a permanent basis. Corresponding Pew research, around 54% of the workforce would like to work from home. That's an increase of almost 30% over the number of workers who worked from home. Many of these workers prefer a designated area to conduct their business in while keeping the family living space separate.

What are the most common types of mother-in-law suites?

Inner: The interiors of the mother-in-law suites are located in the house where the family lives. This can be in a converted basement or in the main part of the house. Some homes have floor plans that can comfortably accommodate extended family members. These houses have bedrooms at opposite ends of the house and separate bathrooms for both generations. They share a living room, dining area and kitchen.

When the basement has been converted to a family-in-law, it usually has its own kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and living area. They often have a walk-in basement that offers a separate entrance into the house.

Attached: An adjoining mother-in-law suite comprises a separate living room that was attached to an existing apartment. Often attached to the side of the house or the back as an addition.

Detached: Detached mother-in-law suites are also known as accessory apartments (AUD), granny apartments, or second homes. These are usually smaller, separate houses built on the same lot as a single family home. They vary in size and features.

Garage or attic extension: An attic or garage couple suite is one where the home's garage or attic is being remodeled to accommodate aging parents. The renovation includes a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen and a living area. Sometimes an attic is found over a self-contained garage. This offers even more privacy than an attic in the main house.

Mother-in-law suite in the basement with stone accents

How much does it cost to build a mother-in-law suite?

The cost of building a mother-in-law suite varies widely depending on what type of mother-in-law suite is best for your situation, how large the suite you want to build, and what specific amenities you want to incorporate into the space. Let's take a closer look at each option.

Inner: As with any of these options, you can convert or remodel a basement into a mother-in-law suite. However, converting a basement or part of the main house into a separate suite for the mother may be a cheaper option than building a detached house from scratch for the mother-in-law. According to HGTV, it can cost less than 3,000 to more than $ 200,000 to convert a basement into additional usable space. Keep in mind that while working in a basement, you could run into problematic issues like water damage that would require costly remediation before you even begin the actual cultivation.

Attached: Building anadu.com states that the cost of building a 500-square-foot attached mother-in-law suite is as little as $ 106,000 or up to $ 216,000, depending on the overall scope of the project. Again, this can vary depending on the size of the room, how consuming it is, and whether you choose to do the job yourself.

Detached: Corresponding Bob Vila, the cost of purchasing a new pre-built, freestanding granny pod can range from just $ 30,000 for a "bare" structure to $ 125,000 for the high-end. This includes the cost of delivery and placement on an already built concrete slab. Of course, the cost of building a freestanding structure can be much higher if, for example, you opt for a “smart” home.

Garage conversion: Expect to spend $ 15,000 to $ 20,000 to remodel a garage or existing shed in a mother-in-law suite.

As you can see, the cost of remodeling, building, or buying space for a mother-in-law suite depends on many individual factors. This makes it difficult to determine the exact cost in any given situation. However, if you start with existing rooms, e.g. For example, a basement, attic, or garage, you can save money on building over or buying a new stand-alone structure.

How do you build a mother-in-law suite?

Building a mother-in-law suite requires, as you might expect, foresight and planning. Whether you are expanding the main house, remodeling a garage or basement, or going all out and building a separate building in the back yard, you need to review the rules and regulations to determine what is allowed and what is not your area. These zoning laws, occupancy codes, and even homeowners' association covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CCRs) dictate exactly what you can do.

Once you've verified your Project is allowedYou need to decide how much, if at all, you will invest in the project, or whether you would rather pay someone else to do the entire project for you.

As you prepare to start building, think about future uses of the suite, especially if you are building a free-standing unit. You may want to rent the unit and allow separate power, water, and gas supplies to the ADU to keep utilities separate from the main house. In this way, you can also switch them off completely if the building has been empty for a long time.

Also, keep your aging relatives in mind when you are in the design phase. Do doors have to be built that can accommodate a rollator or wheelchair? Do you need to put handrails in the bathrooms? How about a zero cord shower entrance? Thinking now about future-proofing your loved ones can lead to a smoother transition into aging.

Some adult children decide to move from their current home to a house that they design and build themselves and that also includes mother-in-law quarters in the planning. This has caused Builders in some parts of the US To offer blueprints of mother-in-law suites that have already moved in.

What else can mother-in-law suites be used for?

At some point, your mother-in-law suite could become vacant. If so, there are several different things you can do with this room, regardless of whether it is attached to the main house, built into the main house, or completely separate.

In-laws connected to the house can also be used as Backyard office, a long term rental, (check your local codes) an Airbnb, a business venture like a yoga or art studio, a home gym, nanny accommodation if you have young children and want to hire help, or even a commercial kitchen for one Baking / cooking mode.

A vacant, detached suite-in-law could also be used as a she-spilled or a man cave in addition to many of the ideas above.

Do mother-in-law suites add value to my property?

Yes, although it is difficult to say exactly how much value they add for several reasons. The main reason is that there are several variations of in-laws as described above.

The value also counts for the amount of "finish" and amenities included in the suite. A simple renovation of an outdoor shed is worth less than a new shed kit that converts into a freestanding mother-in-law suite or that is custom built by a master builder.

And while mother-in-law suites have been around since the 1940s, they have been difficult to keep track of and even more difficult for appraisers and real estate professionals to evaluate.

There are also differences in value within the valuation industry, mainly caused by the lack of suitable comps. Even though they are popular and growing in popularity, not every neighborhood has a family-in-law that can serve as a suitable comparable sale in the appraisal.

Another factor that affects the value of a mother-in-law suite is that some local jurisdictions allow you to rent a detached apartment (like Airbnb) while others require only one relative to live there.

Ultimately, as a buyer of a multigenerational house or as a seller, you estimate the value of an in-law property or building. As a seller, you must realize that not everyone is going to like your home, especially if you've converted one of two garage spaces into a mother-in-law suite when your neighborhood usually has at least one two-car garage.

On the flip side, if you're adding out the back of your home for Grandma, that extra living space on sale can actually add to the overall value of your home, assuming the work is done professionally.

Finally, there's the personal value that the extra space adds while you're using it, whether it be for housing newlywed college kids, older relatives, or guests who visit frequently, adding a mother is very useful -in-law suite in your home.

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