What Is an In-Law Apartment and Why Should Your Next Home Have One?
According to the Pew Research Center, 64 million Americans report living in multi-generational households — and many of those have their own in-law apartment. As that number grows each year, so does the demand for homes with in-law apartments to accommodate all of those generations living under one roof.
More and more families need to find better solutions for their aging parents or grandparents. According to the Census Bureau, 2030 will be a landmark year in the United States. By that point, "all baby boomers will be older than age 65," the Bureau reports. "This will expand the size of the older population so that one in every five residents will be retirement age."
Therefore, now is the time to think about whether a home with an in-law apartment isn't just a good practical solution for your family, but to consider if it's a great long-term investment as well.
Should an In-Law Apartment Be on Your New Home Wish List?
Buying a home with an in-law apartment gives you a lot of advantages, including peace of mind and perhaps even lower expenses for the family. An add-on like this is also versatile, and gives you more options down the road — your young children may eventually move into the space as teenagers or college students. Or you could even diversify your income by renting the apartment to others at some point.
And if you choose to eventually sell this home, you can feel confident that the suite or unit will attract more buyers.
What to Look for in an In-Law Suite
As you start your home search, know that there's a difference between a home's add-on and a true in-law suite. If you want space for aging parents or grandparents to live, you need to consider things like accessibility as well as "universal design," or spaces that are intended for anyone to use.
Will the walls support grab bars? Is there an excessive amount of stairs (or even just one perilous staircase)? Does the layout work for a family member who may have mobility issues?
These are the kinds of things you need to consider as you house hunt and look at properties that feature an add-on living space.
Consider Remodeling Your Existing Home to Add More Value
Remodeling your current home to include an in-law apartment could be a great way to add value to your property. Again, as the population ages and the cost of assisted living or long-term care only continues to climb, homes that offer this feature will likely be in higher demand than houses that are not as conducive to multi-generational living.
Some families may prefer to sell an existing home and use the profits to buy a new home, but you can still leverage your house to finance a remodel without selling it. If you have a lot of equity, a home equity loan or line of credit can give you access to the cash you need to put on an addition. The loan could pay for itself if the remodel enhances your property value. A refinancing option on your existing mortgage is another path that might work for you. Speak to a mortgage loan officer about your options.
Regardless of how you finance adding on an in-law apartment, keep in mind that you want the space to be accessible by all and able to stand the test of time. You might want to plan for functionality to ensure that you, your family, and even future buyers can get the most out of this investment into your property.