Honey – my parents are here (to stay)!

by Jodi Koviach

My in-laws recently sold their home in Hillsborough (with the help of Urban Durham, of course) and are preparing to move into the renovated basement of our house. This has been the plan for our house and family since we purchased our house five years ago.  We have seen an increasing trend toward in-law suites in new home construction and home renovation in the Triangle and throughout the country.  Some cities have even revised their zoning ordinances to allow for detached “granny flats.” In-law suites add value to a house and are becoming a higher priority on buyer’s “wish lists.”  According to the National Association of Realtors, 20 percent of buyers would be willing to pay a median of $2,920 more for a home with an in-law suite.  Why this uptick in multigenerational homes?  For some it’s cultural, for others a matter of convenience, affordability or ability to care for aging parents.

If you’re looking for a house or planning to renovate to accommodate an in-law suite, we found the following tips to be quite useful:

–  Check your local ordinances and building codes to ensure compliance.

–  Involve your parents or in-laws in the planning of the space so that their priorities for living can be addressed.

–  If possible, plan a space that can have a separate entrance from the rest of the house.

–  Modify design elements in the space to improve accessibility and mobility to ensure that your parents or in-laws can remain the space long term (Universal Design).

As for our family – the space is nearly done, the move is scheduled and we’re embarking on a new style of multigenerational living.  It’s sure to be a new and positive experience for all involved – we’ll let you know how it goes!

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