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How Does a Mother-in-Law Suite Add Value to a Property?

Friday, October 28, 2022   /   by Laura Larson

How Does a Mother-in-Law Suite Add Value to a Property?

A mother-in-law suite is what?
A mother-in-law suite can be a separate living unit, an addition to a property, or a residence erected inside a house specifically for the purpose of an in-law or other relative. The suite may be attached to or constructed on the same property as a house where other family members reside. A mother-in-law suite is frequently used to allow older family members to remain close to their adult children or other relatives while still maintaining their freedom and privacy. This happens frequently in multi-generational households, where children frequently reside in the same home as their parents and grandparents.

A mother-in-law suite, sometimes known as the "granny flat," is an idea that has been around for a long time. It had its peak popularity in post-World War II America until zoning regulations were put in place that ultimately prevented their construction. The mother-in-law suite is currently seeing a renaissance among homeowners, whether it be a smaller, detached "granny flat" or a piece of a property that has been modified to accommodate a relative.

How is a mother-in-law suite constructed?
A mother-in-law suite typically has a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom. The living quarters usually remain apart from the rest of the house and household, even though they may be attached to the main house. This allows grandparents to help with grandchildren and/or adult children to care for their parents.

Mother-in-law suites might be as basic as a single room with a bed, couch, and space to sit, as well as access to a bathroom; but, in an ideal world, it would have it's very own private bathroom.

They can also be found in a different area of the house, such as a garage, basement with a separate door, or attic that has been modified to meet the needs of the occupants.

How come mother-in-law suites are so well-liked?
Today's families are adopting the mother-in-law suite as a trend in their homes more and more. Around 51 million Americans, an increase of 10% since 2007, live in multigenerational households, according to USA Today.

The fact that both generations may participate in the financial obligations that come with homeownership is one factor in their popularity. Post-graduate adult children can live independently in mother-in-law suites, which can keep their debt levels low as they start their professions and begin saving for their own houses.

Another factor contributing to the popularity of in-law suites nowadays is the necessity to downsize and the rapid increase in the price of senior assisted living facilities. In the United States, assisted living costs about $4,300 per month on average. Both parents and kids may be financially impacted by this sum.

A third factor contributing to the rise in interest in "in-law" suites is the rise in the number of persons who can regularly work from home.

What types of mother-in-law suites are most typical?
In the home where the family resides, there are inside mother-in-law suites. This might be in a converted basement or in the main part of the house, like a study or a den. Some houses have layouts that make it easy to include extended family members. The bedrooms in these houses are located on opposite ends of the house, and there are separate bathrooms for each generation. Nevertheless, they continue to share a kitchen, dining room, and living room.

The in-law suite in the basement will normally have its own kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and living space. Frequently, they feature a walk-out basement with a separate entrance.

An attached mother-in-law suite is an additional living area that is frequently attached to the side or the back of an existing house.

Detached mother-in-law suites are also known as granny flats, supplementary suites, and auxiliary dwelling units (AUD). Typically, these are separate, smaller residences built on the same property as a single-family residence. To meet individual preferences and demands, they come in a range of sizes, features, and aesthetics.

An in-law suite in the attic or garage is a space that has been converted to house in-laws or other family members. A bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living space are often renovated. Over a standalone garage, a suitable attic space occasionally exists. Even more, seclusion is offered by this than an attic inside the main house.

How much does it cost to build a mother-in-law suite?
Depending on the style of mother-in-law suite that best matches your needs, the size of the suite you intend to build, and the particular amenities you want to include in the space, the cost to build a mother-in-law suite can vary significantly. Let's take a deeper look at each choice.

Interior mother-in-law suites: As with any of these possibilities, completing or remodeling a basement to create a mother-in-law room might cost quite a bit. However, remodeling a piece of the basement or the main house into a separate suite for mom may be less expensive than starting from scratch with a separate mother-in-law property. A basement conversion can cost anywhere between $3,000 to more than $200,000, according to HGTV. Remember that when working in a basement, you can encounter challenging problems like water damage that would necessitate expensive cleanup before you even begin the real addition.

Attached mother-in-law suites: A 500-square-foot attached mother-in-law apartment can be built for as little as $106,000 or as much as $216,000, according to Buildinganadu.com, depending on the project's overall scope. Once more, this will depend on the size and complexity of the area as well as whether you opt to handle any of the work yourself.

Detached mother-in-law apartments: According to Bob Vila, the price to purchase a new, prefabricated detached granny pod can start as low as $30,000 for a "bare-bones" building and go as high as $125,000. The price of delivery and installation on a concrete pad that has already been built is included.

Garage mother-in-law suites: According to Bob Vila, it will cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to turn an existing shed or garage into a mother-in-law suite.

As you can see, there are a lot of different elements that might affect how much it will cost to renovate, create, or purchase a mother-in-law suite. This makes it challenging to estimate a precise cost in any particular circumstance. Instead of building or purchasing a new standalone structure, you could save some money by starting with space you already have, like a basement, attic, or garage.

How is a mother-in-law suite constructed?
As you might anticipate, building a mother-in-law room requires care and design. You must verify local rules and ordinances to find out what is and isn't permitted before making any changes to the main house, rebuilding the garage or basement, or going all out and erecting a separate building in the backyard. What you can do will be governed by these zoning regulations, occupancy standards, and even homeowner's association covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CCRs).

Once you have confirmed that your project has been approved, you must determine whether you will put in any sweat equity or whether you would want to hire someone else to do the project entirely.

Consider the suite's potential use as you are ready to begin construction, especially if you're creating a detached home. Having separate electricity, water, and gas runs to the ADU would allow you to keep services separate from the main house in case you decide to rent out the unit.
When you are in the design stage, keep your relative's wants in mind as well. Will doors that can accept a wheelchair or walker need to be constructed? Do the bathrooms need to have handrails? How about a shower entrance with no curb? For your future relatives, planning beforehand can help the move go more smoothly.

What other purposes may mother-in-law suites serve?
Your mother-in-law's suite may become vacant at some point in the future. If so, you have a number of alternatives for using that area, whether it is a part of the main house, a structure constructed into the basement, or something entirely different.

Depending on local laws, homes with mother-in-law suites can also serve as a backyard office, a long-term rental property, an Airbnb, a yoga or art studio, a home gym, nanny quarters, or even a commercial kitchen for a catering or baking business. There are countless uses for an empty, unattached in-law room, including use as a she-shed or a man cave.

Do mother-in-law suites add value to my property?
Yes, mother-in-law suites can increase the value of your home, but it's hard to quantify how much. For instance, there are various types of in-law suites, as previously mentioned, and when combined with various finishes and amenities, they all have a varied effect on how much your property is worth. Mother-in-law suites have also been around since the 1940s, but due to a lack of appropriate real estate comps, it has been difficult to monitor them and even harder for appraisers and real estate experts to assign a value to them. Even while mother-in-law suites are becoming more and more common, not every area has a property with one that can serve as an appropriate comparable sale when establishing the worth of your home.

To get a rough estimate, you can also turn to national averages. For instance, remodeling a basement can enhance a home's value by close to $50,000, while building an additional master suite can add, on average, $80,000. However, your neighborhood and the type of addition you make to your house will have a significant impact on the value of your property will increase by adding a mother-in-law suite.

In the end, you will have to decide whether to install an in-law suite or not, whether you are the seller of a multigenerational house or the buyer. As a seller, you must be aware that not everyone will like your house, especially if you've turned one of the two garage spaces into a mother-in-law apartment when most homes in your community have at least a two-car garage.

On the other hand, if you extend your home's back to make room for a relative, that extra living space might actually raise your home's overall worth and attract purchasers when you decide to sell.

Finally, there is the value that the additional space offers you personally while you are the one utilizing it. Whether it's for sheltering aging relatives, frequent visitors, or a recent college graduate, there are many benefits of adding a mother-in-law suite to your house that goes beyond financial ones.
Larson Fine Properties
Laura Larson
7294 Joffa Circle
Warrenton, VA 20187

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