Home renovation is big business. In fact, the remodeling industry is expected to continue to grow 2% annually through 2025. Part of those figures will undoubtedly come from the construction of in-law suites in homes.
But first things first — what is an in-law suite, and how do you build one?
What Is an In-Law Suite?
An in-law suite (also called an in-law apartment, mother-in-law suite, or granny apartment) is a private space attached to the adult child’s home or located on the same property specifically for in-laws and parents. Many of these spaces are custom-built additions to the home, but converted basements, garages, and stand-alone guest houses are also common.
How Much Does an In-Law Suite Cost?
Quality home renovation is never cheap. Generally, the cost to build an in-law suite varies between $40,000 and $125,000 depending on the location and the level of work needed to complete the project. Ideally, an in-law suite will have all the essentials for independent living — including a separate living area, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen.
While this is a significant cost, in many cases it will be the better financial option when stacked against the continued cost of an assisted living community or a private room in a nursing home.
Before you commit to building your in-law suite, there are a few things you’ll need to do first:
- Check Your Local Building Codes: Many people, unfortunately, skip this step when doing home renovations, and doing so can lead to major issues later. These building codes will determine what features your in-law suite can have. Stand-alone structures will require separate permits (if they are even allowed by local zoning). Additions to an existing home will generally be limited to a small sitting area, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. There are often other requirements as well, so checking these codes is essential before you start your project.
- Separate the Suite’s Utilities: This allows you to switch off utilities if the space is ever unoccupied and easily split bills with potential future renters.
- Consider Current and Future Needs: It’s best to design an in-law suite with the future in mind and make sure that your guests can safely age in place once they’ve moved in. This means installing grab bars for baths and showers, shower seats, making the space accessible for wheelchairs, walkers, or other mobility devices. Tackling this now will save you renovation cost later.
Find a certified contractor who has built in-law suites before, understands aging-in-place, and has worked in your area. They can handle the work safely and professionally, and get you the finished space you’re looking for.