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3 Tips for Adding an In-Law Suite to Your DC Area Home


At some point, your family will have the discussion on where to move mom and dad as they get older. While many older people want to keep their independence, they are also ready to move into a more appropriate environment for their age. Adding an in-law suite to your home is one way to give back to your parents.

Beyond hosting elderly parents, in-law suites have many uses. In-law suites can be converted garages, basements, attics or brand new additions.

Alternative uses for an in-law suite

Guest quarters: Do you host out-of-town guests but find that your house is too cramped? An attached apartment can provide you a space to host, while also offering your guests (and yourself) a layer of privacy. Having a private bedroom and bathroom for your guests is something they will always appreciate.

Rental apartments: In-law suites can be converted into rental apartments. These apartments can be designed with private entrances. If you are looking to add a side income, short and long-term rentals of your space is a viable option to explore.

Residence for older children: Adding an extra living space in your home is a wonderful way to offer your adult children a way to live on their own, while allowing them to get on their feet financially.

Customize your in-law suite

One of the benefits of adding a small apartment is that it can be customized to suit your needs.

Some of the considerations include:

  • Private entrances
  • Kitchen or kitchenette
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Private bathroom

When having the discussion on where to add the new space, you need to consider who the in-law suite will be geared towards. Elderly people often have difficulty climbing stairs, so it makes more sense to renovate a garage, walk-out basement or add a rancher style stand-alone space.

On the other hand, renters and children won’t find stairs daunting. If you have an attic space above your garage, this would be a perfect place to include an in-law suite for renters.

Do your research

Once you’ve decided what you want to use your in-law suite for, and what you will include in the space, there are a few other details you will need to take into consideration.

  • Check your local building codes: adding a small apartment will require different permits than adding a detached room.
  • Separate the living space’s utilities. This is imperative if you are considering renting the in-law suite out.
  • Find a knowledgeable contractor. Your professional contractor will guide you through every step of the process, and help you get the correct building permits.

Besides adding value to your home, and a potential second income source, the best part about adding an in-law suite is having the space to open your home to your loved ones. Whether it be a place to offer your parents, or a room to help your children get on their feet, the value of adding an apartment goes well beyond the mere monetary value it will add to your home.


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