A mother-in-law suite is one very enticing idea for those looking to improve their home through renovations and/or additions. The options are endless, from installing a new ductless heating and cooling system to building an entirely new space. Read below to learn more about mother-in-law suites and find out if you should add one to your home today!
What Is a Mother-in-Law Suite?
A mother-in-law suite is a private residence within an existing home or property, and they can be either attached or detached from the main house. Attached suites are usually finished basements or attics, but they can be on any house floor. Conversely, detached suites are stand-alone structures on the same property. They usually feature a bedroom and bathroom with other amenities such as a kitchen or kitchenette, living area, and storage.
Mother-in-Law Suite Benefits
Mother-in-law suites provide many clear advantages for homeowners. Mother-in-law suites are on or within the main property, which allows for easy access to the main home. However, they provide most, if not all, of the amenities required for independent living. As their name implies, mother-in-law suites are predominantly used as separate living spaces for others, such as a relative.
Many use them for multigenerational living, as they allow a grandparent or in-law to stay with the family in their own separate space. This can help raise children, as the tenant can provide much-needed extra help and assistance around the house. However, mother-in-law suites do not have to house a full-time tenant. The extra space provides privacy and comfort within your home, and there are many different ways to get creative with your suite. There is no specific way to build or add a mother-in-law suite to your home so that you can design the suite exactly to your wants and needs.
Other uses include extra living areas, home offices, home gyms, and storage. A mother-in-law suite could also be used as a guest room for any visitors. This can be especially beneficial when family or friends are in town for special occasions like holidays and weddings or spontaneous weekend visits. Mother-in-law suites have also been shown to enhance your property value. When it comes time to sell your home, the extra space and living area is very appealing to prospective tenants for all of the aforementioned reasons.
Renting Out Your Mother-In-Law Suite
Mother-in-law suites can also be a source of income, as you can rent out the area to either short- or long-term tenants and collect rent. While this will require extra responsibilities, such as upkeep and maintenance, the additional income stream can help offset the costs of building the suite and eventually lead to a profit. This also requires a comfort level with you and your family, as you are allowing a stranger to stay in your home. Fortunately, the suite provides them with all the necessary amenities and minimizes contact.
Renting out your suite through Airbnb or other similar sites is an especially appealing option for those in or near urban areas. There will always be a high demand for vacant rooms, especially for sporting events, concerts, or other events that draw crowds and tourists. This higher demand, especially during the aforementioned events and busier periods, will increase revenue for the homeowner.
Before listing your suite for either a short- or long-term rental, be sure to check your local rules and regulations. Each area has different requirements and laws concerning rental properties, so you need to ensure your suite meets all the required standards.
Costs of Adding a Mother-in-Law Suite
A mother-in-law suite typically ranges from 300 to 600 square feet and costs between $40,000 and $125,000 to build. Several factors influence the costs of adding a mother-in-law suite to your homes, such as size, materials, and professional labor. There may also be permit fees to pay before beginning construction on your property. If you cannot pay out of pocket for the addition, there are many different loan and financing options available, such as home equity loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOC), cash-out refinancing, and personal loans.
Whether you have an attached or detached suite, you need to accommodate for costs of adding utilities to the home. Since it is a liveable area, it will require necessary utilities such as water, electricity, or gas. While adding or expanding some of these utility lines can be costly, there are ways to save on your utility costs during construction.
For your mother-in-law suite’s heating and cooling system, install a ductless mini-split. Even if your home already has a central HVAC system, extending it to addition is costly and intrusive, and you cannot extend it outside of the home to a stand-alone suite. Mini-splits have a very simple and straightforward installation process, eliminating much of the headache or logistical impossibilities about extending your ductwork.
These air conditioners are also highly efficient, which leads to significant energy bill savings over both the short and long term. Mini-splits offer several non-financial advantages for your suite. They are available in single and multi-zone systems so that they can heat and cool a suite of any size!
They also improve indoor air quality by removing harmful contaminants such as dust, dirt, debris, and more. Mini-splits also prevent mold and mildew growth by removing airborne moisture. Many utilize smart technologies such as smartphone applications, motion sensors, and temperature cycling capabilities that allow homeowners to create their ideal indoor environment.
Now Get to It!
Now that you’re sold on adding a mother-in-law suite to your home, it’s time to get to work! Before moving forward, be sure to check your local regulations. You must have the necessary knowledge of local ordinances and acquire any permits before constructing your suite, whether it is an addition to your home or a stand-alone structure on your property.