Requests for homes with in law suites continue to increase each year. As the baby boomers enter their golden years many are deciding to move in with family. We have helped a number of families purchase homes that needed to have separate living quarters for their parents and we have learned quite a bit along the way.
Things to consider:
Privacy - Many aging parents are reluctant to move in with family because they feel they will lose their independence and in some cases don't want to be a burden. The key is to make sure that they have their own living space and some amount of self sufficiency so that they don't feel like they are "living" with their family all the time.
Budget - Often times the parents are in a position to contribute to the purchase of the home. This can help move your home search up into a higher price point and a whole new category of homes that have more space for the in laws. Establishing the budget up front is helpful.
Repurposing space - When we are looking for a home that can accommodate multiple generations of a family, we don't just look at whether it has an in law suite or not. We look for space that can be re-purposed into an in law suite. For example a large living room. We have helped clients design in law suites within the footprint of the existing home and they have been very happy with the end product.
Adding on - Sometimes the best thing to do is to build the in law suite onto an existing home. We will help you do your due diligence to make sure that the current zoning allows an addition and that there is enough room on the lot to allow for the additional square footage. We recently had clients that found the perfect home but it didn't have the in law suite they needed. They decided to buy the home and add a 800 s.f. addition. It turned out perfect for them and everyone had their own space and privacy but knew their family was there when they need them.
Accessibility - Even if the in laws are able to get up and down stairs now, you still need to think about accessibility in the future. Once they are unable to get up and down stairs it is going to be important that they are on the first floor or have access to an elevator. This is why you will see homes specifically call out the first floor master bedroom. It is something that aging homeowners want.
Financing - If we can find a home that already has an in law suite built into the home then the financing of the home is pretty much the same as with any other purchase. If you decide that you have found the perfect home without the in law suite already there and would like to take on a renovation project to add one, then financing requires a little bit of creativity. We have a number of well qualified loan officers that specialize in doing loans for these type scenarios. We can help line up a contractor and the financing so that you can create the perfect space.
Must Haves - If a family member is going to be living with you full time it is important to have all the comforts of a home in their in law suite. Essentially you are looking for an apartment within a home. Some of the must haves that we suggest are a separate entrance into the suite, a small kitchen or kitchenette, a sitting area with a TV, a small bedroom, a decent sized closet for clothes and storage and an accessible bathroom with a shower.
If you would like our help finding or creating an in law suite that works for your family, give us a call.