As the percentage of senior citizens continues to grow every year, more and more homeowners are taking a serious look at the possibility of having their aging parents move in with them. An increasingly popular idea is the notion of creating an “in-law apartment” to provide a private, but nearby living space for older members of the family.
As an alternative to remodeling one or more rooms to accommodate a live-in relative, some homeowners build an addition to their house. Those with an acre or more of land (and the budget) sometimes consider building a separate guest house on their property. In most cases, though, people tend to convert a portion of their homes to a secondary living unit.
If you’re considering going this route, it’s necessary to check with your town or city government to make sure you’re in compliance with local ordinances, building codes, and zoning laws. Sometimes the approval process might be relatively simple, while in other situations, it could be more restrictive or complicated. The requirements vary widely from one location to another, but you never know until you ask!
A knowledgeable real estate agent can provide you with a lot of helpful information on the topic of in-law apartments. To find out whether your home is already approved for “multiple-unit occupancy,” your local assessor, building department, or building inspector can provide the answer. They can also fill you in on requirements, restrictions, and guidelines for converting a living space to a secondary dwelling unit.
By approaching it with an open mind and a little bit of optimism, you might be pleasantly surprised with the practicality of welcoming an aging parent, grandparent, or other member of your extended family into your home. A separate living space may also be the ideal solution for a recent graduate or older adult child who isn’t quite ready for the cost of full independence.
If you’re currently in the market for a new home, you may even want to expand your “wish list” to include properties that have an approved secondary unit on it. Whether you’re anticipating future family needs or toying with the idea of using the space to generate rental income, there are several potential advantages to having an apartment or guest house on the premises.
Your real estate agent can provide you with data on the availability of residential properties with “in-law apartments” and multiple unit occupancy features. They can also offer valuable insights on the future marketability of the property. While your main objective at this point may be finding a long-term place for your family to call home, choosing a property that’s a good investment could make real estate ownership even more rewarding down the road.