The Mother-In-Law Apartment: When the Folks Need Family

Could a mother-in-law apartment be the answer when your home is perfect but you desperately need more space? There are many reasons why size becomes a critical factor. A widowed parent needs to be near family, you want to host out-of-town friends and family or your college grad needs a base while job hunting.

Whatever the reason, the obvious solution would be to add an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). This not-so-colorful nickname was coined by none other than the US government as a way to describe garden suites, granny flats and garage apartments.

Size solution

With the shift toward multi-generational living taking place over the last few years, it isn’t uncommon to find that a once-perfect home has become too small. Nowadays, homeowners are turning to the mother-in-law-apartment as the clever solution when adults need to share an address but not necessarily a bathroom.

An ADU can be a renovation to the existing home’s footprint or it can be an entirely new structure on the same property. While the means may vary, the results are essentially the same; the mother-in-law apartment (or ADU) will increase the living space greatly while providing privacy.

Multiple uses

Apart from the obvious uptick to the property’s value, the benefits of having an ADU are manifold. The obvious advantage is what gave the addition its popular name –“mother-in-law-apartment.” Having the space where an older relative can be nearby but independent not only saves the cost of an impersonal facility but provides peace of mind for all involved.
An individual living space gives everyone breathing room when your college grad needs a stable base while working out the next move or starting the great job hunt.

And many homeowners have utilized their empty garage apartment or garden suite as a rental for extra source of income.
Check the rules and regulations

Before finalizing any plans for adding an ADU to your home, you’ll have to look into the rules and regulations. The concept of the ADU is generally popular with urban planners. It is a solution for affordable housing without the drawbacks of large scale developments.

Just like any other residential space, an ADU will have to comply with the local and state regulations for housing that apply to your area. Your local city zoning department will be able to fill you in with the guidelines.

Money well spent

Whether you are planning a free-standing cottage or a garage conversion, there are some solid benefits to having a mother-in-law-apartment on your property. Whichever way you decide to go, you will be spending some serious money.
ADU additions range anywhere from $40,000 to over $100,000, although they typically fall into two categories: attached (a converted garage or basement, for instance) or detached (such as building a free-standing cottage beside your home). Whichever route you take, be prepared to spend some money and navigate your way through the usual remodeling red tape.

Make a wise choice

Is a mother-in-law apartment the solution? Only you will know what will fit your unique family situation best. Explore your options, talk to the experts and use your new-found knowledge to make an informed decision.

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