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In Law Suite – Things to consider

In Law Suites Hot Trend

According to a report by Pew Research Center, 64 Million Americans live in multigenerational households.   Pew describes a multi-generational household as including “at least two adult generations or grandparents and grandchildren younger than 25”.  This number is representative of one-in-five Americans that live in multi-generational households or 20% of the U.S. population according to the 2016 census.  Reasons for this great increase was the 2007-2009 Great Recession and based on statistics doesn’t look like it is slowing down.  Much of the blame since the recession is the rising cost of home buying and the overwhelming student debt Millenials carry.  The graphs below are from the Pew Study.

Things to Consider Before Building an In Law Suite

If you happen to be one of these 64 Million Americans perhaps an in law suite is a good solution to an overcrowded home or for an aging parent.  A question you may be asking is whether it is a good investment. According to the Wall Street Journal, it could be a great investment if you have plans to sell in the future because it’s among the hottest home amenities available and a 2012 survey of 550 homeowners reveals that 32%  expect to have an aging relative live with them in the future.  With this information, it seems your home will increase in value should you decide to build an in law suite. These extra spaces can even offer rental income potential especially if short-term rentals are in-demand and can be attractive to homebuyers as a great investment.

Other things…

1.  Check Your Building Codes:
  • To determine whether you can build your in law suite as a detached building or an addition to an existing home.  Some zoning rules will prohibit building rentable properties.
  • They will also determine whether you are limited to a bedroom, bath, small kitchen, and sitting area or the installation of a full kitchen which can be considered a “home in a home”.
  • The requirement may be that you live on the property where the in-law suite is built.
  • Regarding creating separate sewer and water connections is required.
  • Whether you could install an outside entrance to the addition separate from the house.
2.  Designing Your In Law Suite:
  • Convert a garage, attic or basement.
  • Converting a covered porch to a four season room.
  • Build an addition off of a room on the existing first floor.
  • Creating a Universal Design; wider doorways, even floor transitions, no threshold shower.
  • Installing grab bars, shower seats, pull-out drawers, and bright lighting to name a few.
3. Look for a Contractor who is:
  • Experienced in building an in law suite and even better if they can help through design-build.
  • Certified Aging in Place (CAPS) Contractor for they can be helpful in advising the best design ideas for functionality.
  • An experienced general contractor and can walk you through the zoning rules and design specifications making the process much easier.

The beauty of an in law suite or addition is it is multi-functional.  An attached or detached structure on your home’s premises can be a place for the mother-in-law or guests visiting from out of town.  The separate space allows for a family member to feel like they live independent but still be close at hand.  Building an in law suite can also be useful for college-age children to experience independence but still be safe and secure.  Lastly, an in law suite can be built by you, the homeowner for your own living space allowing grown children with families to occupy the existing home.   This can give the empty-nesters the ability to spend more time with their grandchildren and also be free to travel and/or enjoy a vacation home.

If you decide that you would like more information on building an independent structure or adding an in law suite to your present home please give us a call and we can answer any questions.   Or call to schedule a consultation with one of our remodeling experts to walk you through the process.  We have been building in Maryland for over 35 years!