It may be called an in-law suite, but that doesn’t mean only your in-laws can stay there. For many reasons, an in-law suite may be a good investment and improvement for your property, as well as a place for your in-laws to stay.
Approximately 20% of the U.S. population lives in a multigenerational home, meaning three or more generations share the same household. Also, older Americans are choosing to move in with their children and grandkids more than ever.
But instead of taking the spare bedroom upstairs, a private in-law suite makes much more sense for everyone involved.
In-law suites are usually a private suite on the grounds or an attached apartment. They can be custom-built additions as well as converted garages or even basements.
Ideally, your in-law suite should have everything needed for independent living such as a separate bedroom, living area, bathroom and kitchen. These can cost on average from $40,000 and $125,000 or more, depending on the size and accessories.
That may seem steep, but the one-time cost to build an in-law suite pales in comparison to the annual cost of assisted living communities.
One survey indicated that in the United States, the average cost of a private room in a nursing home is around $105,000 annually. Semi-private rooms averaged out to $93,000 per year.
When planning an in-law suite, it’s best to design an open floor plan, making it versatile and easier for future buyers to envision the space for many uses. And however you design it, make sure the suite is comfortable and offers privacy.
Having a separate entry point is a must if you intend to rent and even for your in-laws.
When not in use by an aging parent or if your parents aren’t ready to move in yet, an in-law suite can serve many purposes, making it a wise investment. These include a home office, guest quarters, residence for an older child and even short- or long-term rental space.
Local ordinances can vary when it comes to in-law suites and their use.
To check the laws specific to your property, go to the zoning office with your lot and block number to find out if it is permitted. If zoning laws do not allow an in-law apartment, it may be possible to get a variance.
You also will need to obtain building permits. Even then, there may be limitations on what the suite can include or how it may be used. Some zoning laws do not allow full kitchens and some do not allow suites to be rented out either.
The bottom line is to know the local laws before investing.