When To Consider Adding An In-Law Suite to Your Maryland or Washington, DC Home

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If your family is expanding, it stands to reason that your home needs to grow with it. 

More often these days, families are electing to live together beyond the traditional model of parents and children under 18. Modern households can include parents, children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, and/or in-laws, all living together under the same roof. This situation has many benefits; notably, it reduces the cost of living, but it also keeps the people you love most close. 

If you have a multigenerational household, an in-law suite might be just the solution you’re looking for.

What Is An In-Law Suite?

An in-law suite, sometimes called a mother-in-law unit, secondary suite, or accessory dwelling is an addition to your home that can accommodate extra people. 

It can be an attachment to your existing dwelling, or an entirely separate, smaller unit, like a carriage house or a garage conversion. An in-law suite can be as simple as a bedroom and bathroom, or it could be a self-contained unit with a kitchen, living room, and extra bedrooms.

when to consider adding an in law suiteIn-Law Suites Are Not Just For Your In-Laws

Even if you’re not expecting your parents or parents-in-law to move in, an in-law suite is still a valuable addition to your property. The versatility of an in-law suite can also offer financial opportunities while increasing the desirability and value of your property.

In-Law Suite Considerations

There are a few factors that you’ll want to consider when adding an in-law suite to your home:

Needs of the occupants. If your parents or parents-in-law are moving in with you, think about how they live now. If they are relatively independent and mobile, it may be best to give them their own space and privacy, including a separate entrance to the home. 

They may also enjoy amenities like a master bathroom or a full-sized kitchen, depending on their current or anticipated lifestyles. If, however, they need extensive care and have limited mobility, that could impact the way you construct your suite. Sharing common spaces may be the ideal solution, and you may want to consider an addition on the ground floor of the house to minimize stair usage.

Upcycling unused space. Do you have a spot in your home that could be repurposed as an in-law suite? If you’re on a tight budget, think about transforming one or two of your home’s existing rooms. Financially, this option might be better than building a new unit altogether. 

An underutilized space like a basement or office could provide the perfect situation for a few family members. If, however, you’re short on home space but have a bit of a budget to work with, you might decide that an addition is the way to go. Consider a backyard unit or a garage conversion.

when to consider adding an in law suiteWill they stay, or will they go? Will your houseguests be a permanent fixture going forward, or do they only intend to live with you a few months or part of the year? If it seems as though your in-law suite may only be periodically inhabited, you might benefit from a space that serves multiple purposes. 

Your suite can serve as a guesthouse for out-of-town visitors or family visiting for the holidays. Maybe it acts as a part-time office for the adults or a play space for the kids. When you’re not using it, you might think about turning the unit into a weekly, monthly, long-term rental. Airbnbs are popular and profitable, so if you live in a desirable area, you could supplement your income.

Home improvement. Speaking of profitable perks, adding square footage is a project that can not only please the in-laws, but it will also increase the overall value of your home. Additional living space is always a selling point when it comes time to put your house on the market. Plus, if you finish a previously uninhabitable area in your home, it can be a significant incentive for potential buyers. 

In conclusion, an in-law suite is a perfect way to accommodate family members and loved ones in your home without compromising your own living space. 

Even if you’re not expecting your in-laws to move in any time soon, you can still reap many benefits, such as versatility, extra income, and adding value to your property. 

If an in-law suite sounds intriguing to you, reach out to Winthorpe Design & Build today. We’ve been remodeling homes in the Washington and Maryland area for almost 30 years, and we would love to show you how we can help.

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