More people than ever are now living in multigenerational homes, and that type of living arrangement can be very beneficial for some families. If you have an aging loved one moving into your home, then you might want to build a mother-in-law suite to maximize their space and comfort as well as your own.

List the Necessities

The very first step in this process is writing a list of all the necessities for the mother-in-law suite. For some people, that type of suite might not need to be anything more than a single bedroom with a private bathroom. Others will prefer to have a completely separate living space that contains a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom. Once you have that list, it will be much easier to come up with a building plan.

If your home currently doesn’t have enough space for the necessities on your list, a home extension may work best. Home extensions ensure that everyone has enough space, and can give both your parents and you a greater feeling of independence.

Consider the Placement

Where you place the mother-in-law suite is going to be very important for a few different reasons. For many older adults, navigating stairs and entryway steps is difficult, and that could limit where you put the suite. You must also think about what types of utilities are going to be run to the suite. If the suite is going to have completely separate utilities, then it will most likely need to be relatively close to the street.

Check the Local Zoning Laws

In most municipalities, it is legal to build a mother-in-law suite on your property, but your city and utility providers could have some strict regulations regarding additional living spaces. At the very least, you will need to send an application to the city so that they can review and accept the plans. They might also want to send out an inspector before and after the project is complete. If you have licenses with your utility providers or your sewage company, then you could have to send applications to those companies as well.

Consider Future Needs

It is an unfortunate fact that most older adults will eventually develop at least a few health problems at some point, and those complications often affect their living situation. There may come a point when your aging loved one needs a protected power line run to their mother-in-law suite or additional space for a caregiver. Making sure that those alterations can take place at a later time will make your life much easier in the future.

Tackling this type of project on your own might seem like a great way to save some money, but a single mistake could end up costing you quite a bit of time and money. When it comes to major structural changes to a home, it is almost always a good idea to work with licensed, certified, and insured contractors.

By Anita Ginsburg

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn't writing.

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