So, you’re a senior looking for a new housing option. The old family home is just too big, or needs too many repairs for you to plan on living there for the long run. You occasionally need a little help, but are basically in good health. You want to be near your kids, but want some privacy. Your answer may be to live in an in-law suite in the home of one of your children. An alternative might be to develop a separate suite in your home for either yourself or one of your children to live. Many families find that this would work and provide a safe, economical for aging parents.
Eight Things to Consider Before Changing Your Address to an In-Law Suite. With good planning, living in an in-law suite is a good solution, but pulling it off requires excellent communication and often some upfront money. Here are a few things to consider.
1. If you or your children already own a house that is amenable to having a second suite, you are off to a good start. As long as the property is sanctioned by the city to have an additional suite on the premises, you can make some modifications to assure that you and your child are comfortable. If you have to look for a house, what are the requirements each of you would need the property to meet?
2. This arrangement usually means that one person is going to be the landlord and the other the tenant, which may mean a change in roles for one of you. Will both of you be comfortable with that?
3. What will happen to your furniture and other possessions? Will you be able to move your own things into the space? Will you give away or store the extra?
4. Who will pay for renovations to the space to make it suitable for you? The renovations will be a permanent part of the home and increase the value for the owners.
5. Will the new space be just sleeping space, or will there be a kitchen and additional living space? Will there be a full bathroom there? The more self-contained the unit is, the more that you or whoever resides in the new suite will have a sense of independence. Having a full suite, plus a separate entrance, will make the area rentable in future years even if you move out.
6. If the second suite is in the basement, will that pose breathing problems for you? How about mobility issues? If the area is to cold or drafty for you or if you can’t easily get outside or move between levels, you might feel uncomfortable and trapped.
7. What are your mutual expectations regarding how you interact with your children’s family? As a senior, will you be expected to be a daily childcare provider or occasional babysitter? Will you cook your own meals or eat as a family? Will you care for your own apartment and clothes or will your child – landlord take care of them for you? Will there be free access toward your home and theirs?
8. Is the new space near your old home or in an area where you can meet new people and or participate in activities? If you feel isolated, you may not feel that you are at home.
Living in an in-law suite in one of your children’s homes can be a viable alternative to moving to a smaller house, an apartment, or even assisted living.
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Roy Thomas SRES® (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist) is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group Professional Realty. Since 1991, Roy specializes in helping retirees with their later in life real estate transactions. Call Roy at 902-497-3031 or contact Roy here