Around 65 million adults are caring for an aging parent. 

This could be done at a nursing home or other community living facility. But if you cannot afford extra care for your loved one, where do you turn?

Having a mother-in-law suite on your property could be the answer your looking for. 

Let’s explore the benefits of building a mother-in-law suite and what it could mean for you and your family. 

What Is a Mother-In-Law Suite?

A mother-in-law suite (also called a mother-in-law apartment), is an addition to your house or property that acts as an apartment. It could be fully equipped with a kitchen, bedroom, modern bathroom, finished basement, living area, and a separate entrance to the house. Some even have a garage attached. 

Benefits of a Mother-In-Law Suite

There are many benefits of having a mother-in-law suite where you live. Here are a few reasons you may want to consider having one. 

Keep Family Close

Having your parents or another aging family member close can offer you peace of mind. You’re in close proximity should they need immediate assistance, and you’re the one caring for them instead of a staff member at a nursing home. 

Some aging senior deeply value their independence, but you may feel better knowing they are just a few steps away. Having them in their own apartment, where they can manage themselves, gives you the best of both worlds. 

Use It for Others

Even if your aging parents are not interested in staying with you, a mother-in-law suite can act as a guest house if you frequently have guests in your home. This allows for complete privacy for you and your guests if they desire it. 

Adds Value to The Home

Any time you add extra rooms in your house it increases the value of your home. Most of the increase depends on the property, the size of it and the upgrades inside. In some cases, the increase could range from several thousand dollars well into the hundred thousand.

A mother-in-law suite can be a wonderful selling point. When you’re ready to sell the home, buyers will notice the extra space and may think of different ways to utilize it. In some cases, buyers are actively looking for space. 

Potential Rental Property

Renting out the suite could draw in a few extra hundreds of dollars a month. This is becoming a popular trend especially for people who want to rent out their spaces for vacationers. The additional income can go to paying off bills, loans, or the money invested in building the space. 

Flexible Use of Space

Using the suite to be intended is great, but when it’s not being used, it can double as storage space. Seasonal items like furniture, pool equipment or other objects can be put here until they’re ready to be used.

Things to Remember

While a mother-in-law suite is an attractive option for the present and future, there are still several things to consider.

It’s an Investment

The more updates and features a mother-in-law suite has, the more expensive it will be. Think of it as a separate house, with its own layout, furnishings, and cosmetic finishes. It’s not uncommon to see mother-in-law suites priced at $30,000 and upward.

Higher Utility Bills

With a second property, your gas, water, and the electric bill could increase substantially, especially if someone lives there full time. However, it could still be a more cost-effective option than sending your loved one to a nursing home, which could cost several thousands of dollars each month. 

Along with higher utility bills, you could spend more time cleaning the mother-in-law suite. When things break and need repairing, you are responsible to fix them as well. 

Check with Your City

Zoning laws will vary city to city, so it’s important to check with your city before you break ground. Find out what the necessary requirements are and fill out proper documentation if your city allows for it. 

Don’t DIY

If you plan on using the mother-in-law suite long-term, you want to make sure it’s structurally sound and up to code. Hiring a contractor is your best route to ensure this happens. They can also recommend electricians and plumbers who can assist you in those areas. 

Are There Accessibility Issues?

If your loved one has mobility problems, you want to know it’s completely accessible for them to get around on their own. Depending on the areas where there’s difficult mobility, you may need wide hallways, bars installed for balance, and non-stick floors, to name a few.

Each situation will be different and will need to be tailored to the individual’s needs. 

Talk It Through

Aging parents should always have a say in their care. Your loved one may not wish to stay in a mother-in-law suite. So if that was your plan for your second property, it may not make financial sense to build it as a mother-in-law suite. Respect their wishes when they express their concerns about their future care.

Consider Other Options

You can create a mother-in-law suite without building a second property. You could transform your basement or other living areas into a mother-in-law suite. Sometimes interior upgrades can cost less than building a completely new small home on your property.

Converting the top of a garage into a living space is also an option, but you’ll need to check with your city about the guidelines


Check with your insurance policy on whether or not they cover second properties, as some of them do not. 

Is a Mother-In-Law Suite Right for You?

A mother-in-law suite can be an amazing addition to your home and your family. Having your loved ones close by (with privacy!) could be a great set up to help care for parents when they enter their golden years. If that’s not the case just yet, there’s plenty of other options. 

Ready to build your mother-in-law suite but need some assistance with construction? Contact us to learn more about how we can help you. 

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