small kitchen in in-law suite

Planning an “In-Law Apartment” Addition

In Law Suite AdditionAn in-law suite additions is a project where a homeowner adds a second living area to the main home. In many cases, these are used for aging parents, but can also be used for anyone else who may desire a separate living area. While this is a useful addition to many homes, and they can add value in the secondary market, there is a lot of work involved with creating the suite. We’ve put together a brief guide so you will know what to expect if you decide on this big addition to your home.

Check Building Codes – Realize that even though this is YOUR home, there is a limit to what you can do in many areas. Reach out to the city or county and find out what permits you need to file and what restrictions may be in place. Doing this first can save you much heartache and cost later.

Check Local Zoning Ordinances – Before you get started, you will want to check your local zoning ordinance to make sure the addition is allowed in your area. Some in-law suites will have separate bathrooms, kitchens and living areas – it could be considered a separate home and transform your one-family home into a two-family home. You’ll want to check with zoning law to make sure a two-family home or an in-law suite is allowed in your district. And if it is allowed, then be sure to follow the regulations and restrictions that are outlined in the law.

Contact the Utilities – If you are planning for a major addition, this will have a significant impact on gas, electricity, water and sewer/septic. Not only will you use more of each of the services, but any building you do will need to be cleared to make sure you don’t disturb any lines. The utility companies will tell you what steps you need to take to ensure everything goes smoothly from their standpoint.

Choose Your Location – While many in-law suites are in the basement, this isn’t the only choice. You may be able to convert a garage or attic, combine unused rooms together or build an entirely new area onto your home.

Keep the Needs of Your Occupants in Mind – If you are using an in-law suite for your parents, wider hallways may be useful to accommodate a walker or chair. Safety features like a slip bar in the bathroom can be another great solution.

Think About the Future – Do you anticipate a time that you may rent out the unit? If this could be a possibility, you may want to look at having separate electricity, water, and other services run to the premises. It is easier to do this work now, rather than trying to separate it later.

Choose Smart Design Choices – Just like any renovation you make to your home, think about the big picture as well as your desires. Choosing neutral colors and quality products (like countertops, cabinets, etc.) will help make your home easier to rent or sell in the future.

While adding in law suite to existing home is a big project, it doesn’t have to be too overwhelming. Foster Remodeling offers high-end remodeling and renovation assistance to customers in Washington DC and throughout northern Virginia. If you would like to talk to an expert about your in-law suite ideas, call or contact us today.

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!