While Ernie K-Doe may have sung about his mother-in-law being “the worst person I know,” for many people, mothers-in-law are strongholds of love and support. They impart understanding, warmth, and knowledge gained from years of experience. Despite how much she may annoy you, your mother-in-law is probably right.
This year, October 23 is Mother-in-Law Day, a time for families to celebrate the other mothers in their lives. You might show your appreciation by offering to take in your mother-in-law. What is the most effective approach to accomplish this while maintaining her distance? Including a separate apartment for the mother-in-law. Start a renovation project that will return your investment in your property.
A Mother-In-law suite is exactly what it sounds like
A mother-in-law suite, also known as a granny flat, is a self-contained living quarter attached to the primary residence with its own entrance, kitchen, and bedroom(s). Guesthouses, garages, attics, basements, and suites all qualify as “in-law units,” while the legal term is “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs).
What is the average price of a Mother-in-law’s apartment?
Creating a harmonious in-law unit requires time, careful preparation, and possibly even some blood, sweat, and tears. As with families generally, in-law units are not cheap, costing anywhere from $40,000 to $125,000 on average (source: Realtor.com).
Ensure the potential dwelling unit complies with local zoning and building regulations before inviting the mother-in-law to move in. Suppose you plan on leaving the unit vacant for long periods or intend to rent it out in the future. In that case, you may want to explore having the utilities for the flat and the main house be billed separately.
How much will it set you back to build a separate apartment for your Mother-in-law?
You can save more money by converting unused space instead of building an expansion.
- While insulation could be an issue to replace, a garage typically comes with framing and foundations. It likely already provides inhabitants some degree of privacy, bringing the total cost to $20,000 to $50,000 (an additional $15,000 to $25,000 for a bathroom). Plumbing and electrical outlets require proper wiring and pipes to be following building codes.
- Costing between $10,000 and $27,000, a basement with adequate square footage should come with its blueprint, as the necessary plumbing and drainage systems are already installed. Preparing for potential additions, especially external doors, is still a good idea. They’ll make for a safe exit and help the unit stay in compliance.
- Costing anywhere from $41,400 to $90,000, converting an attic requires careful consideration of the ceiling height, stairwell width, correct plumbing extensions, soundproofing measures, and lighting options to be livable.
- For unused rooms, expect to pay $2 to $4 per square foot for framing walls and an additional $3,000 to $25,000 for a bathroom. Since the flooring, lighting, and wiring in these spaces should already be in place, this renovation should be the least disruptive to your daily life.
How much would it cost to build a new separate apartment for your Mother-in-law?
HomeAdvisor estimates that the median cost of an addition is around $120,000, with the high end of the spectrum being closer to $200,000. They can be pretty pricey, but they can also be relatively cheap, depending on your budget and the requirements of your in-laws.
Take a look at these cost breakdowns for a few expected home improvements. Don’t forget to set aside money in your budget for those unexpectedly high costs of house repairs.
- The cost to add a new room ranges from $80 to $200 per square foot, depending on whether you want to expand the footprint of your home by expanding horizontally or vertically. Adding a room by constructing out increases the square footage of your home on the bottom floor, but adding space by building up adds square footage to your property on the upper floors. Constructing an addition that adds square footage to your home’s footprint could be more challenging than adding an additional level.
- Granny Pod, $85,000–$125,000; a mobile home perfect for providing your in-laws with solitude and proximity to you and your family. It has the outside appearance of a cottage but the interior amenities of a hospital. Hand railings, lit floors, and a soft surface are just a few of the features installed in the attached unit, which is plumbed into the main house’s sewer system to reduce the risk of injury from falls.
- You can build smaller, detached units on the site for $15,000 to $25,000, ideal as guest quarters or home offices. Consider excavating fees ($70 per cubic yard) and the $15,000 for a small shed-like area with no facilities.
Once you’ve settled on the nature of the extension you’d like, it’s time to do the math. Here are some ballpark figures to think about as you design your in-laws’ dream residence:
- An electrician’s hourly rate might range from $50 to $100, and they must be licensed professionals to perform the work.
- Beams and trusses for the roof: $15–$30/sq. Ft.
- In most cases, the cost of architectural services will be between 10% and 17% of the total budget.
- A sheet of drywall measuring 4 feet by 8 feet costs around $9.80.
A Mother-in-law’s dream unit
Your emotional well-being should be considered while planning for an in-law suite or guesthouse. No amount of money would ever be enough to compensate for the value of a home that has been expanded to meet the needs of one’s family. In addition, it might contribute to the increase of your home’s equity.
Homebuyers are ready to pay a premium for a house that includes an in-law apartment, and you can make some quick cash renting out the extra room. If your mother-in-law signals that she doesn’t get to visit you as much as she’d like, it’s time to pull out the plans.
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