Your home addition just might be the ticket to a stress-free holiday season. When the in-laws come for the holidays, don’t displace family members from their bedrooms or assign people to couches. The in-law suite addition can make at least part of the holiday visit much more pleasant. That’s right. You can avoid a great deal of stress if you have a home-sweet-home area designated for grandma and grandpa or your mother-in-law and her latest beau. There will be no need to give up your late-night TV watching in the family room because your guests are ready to set up sleep on the couch, or to tiptoe around in the morning because you don’t want to wake grandma.
In in-law suite addition can serve many purposes. Usually built in anticipation of giving aging parents an alternative to assisted living, the so-called in-law suite can provide many benefits to the homeowner. It’s a relaxing, quiet, private respite for relatives, whether they are visiting or living there permanently. With a separate entrance, the in-law suite becomes a more independent way of living, yet keeps older family members connected to the family. While it provides a wonderful way for parents and grandparents to age in place, it also increases the resale value of the home.
Before building an addition, however, make sure you know the local building codes and hire a reputable builder to do the work. The suite should include a bedroom, bath and living area, and possibly a wet bar or kitchenette. Plan on the inhabitants having access to the home’s main kitchen. Although a wet bar can have all of the amenities of a full kitchen, it won’t have a cooking range or oven available. In most single-family home communities, a second full kitchen bumps the home up to a multi-family dwelling, which may be prohibited by zoning laws. Check the number of water and sewer hook-ups your town permits per household, as well.
So now you’ve confirmed that your zoning allows you to add an in-law suite, and your builder has determined that he can execute a first-floor addition to the house. What will putting out more than $80,000 on an in-law suite addition get you besides a homey hotel for holiday visitors? Here are a few thoughts:
If the suite is for your in-laws or aging parents, you’ll have:
- Peace of mind that they have a safe and functional home
- The ability to monitor and adjust their living area to help prevent falls or injury
- Proximity, which relieves a huge burden in travel time for both of you
- Built-in baby sitter if they are capable and needed
- Independent living for parents/in-laws, which often helps them to thrive
- Saved literally millions of dollars by not putting them in assisted living
- Added value to your home for future resale
The in-law suite addition can be as simple or luxurious as you want to make it. Regardless of its amenities, you should be sure it has Aging in Place features — non-slip floors, wide halls and doorways, easy entry and exit with no stairs, grab bars in the tub and/or shower, adjusted counter top height.
If you are having doubts about your in-laws living in the suite and need other uses for it, consider these:
- It can be an ideal place for a family member to recover from surgery. It gives the patient the privacy and space they need and the care giver has easy access to them.
- It’s a great place for a home office that can actually be a professional work-from-home set-up, allowing you to hold meetings separate from your dining room table. (Check local zoning ordinances regarding home-based businesses.)
- An in-law suite might also serve as a nanny’s quarters, providing housing and convenience for both the nanny and the family.
- The suite is a welcome place for short-term or long-term guests that doesn’t wear out their welcome so quickly.
- When an adult child moves back home and you’ve already converted his or her bedroom to an office/sewing room/gym, the in-law suite is an alternative solution.
- It can be a cozy place to stay if you’re in the doghouse with your spouse.