The Value of an In-Law Suite Addition

If you have a seldom used basement area, attic space, or room on the property for an addition, you may have considered building an in-law suite. You also may wonder just how much value such an addition or renovation is worth. There is actually a lot of value in adding a space with a full bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen unit. If it has its own separate access, it’s even better. The number one thing about a functional living area separate from your own can offer great rental potential. Even if you don’t plan to actually rent out the space now, it adds value to your home for future use.


One of the most important aspects of building any addition is to make sure that it fits with the rest of the house’s style. Whatever you do, it needs to fit into the original architecture and design of the home. If it looks too modern or looks shabbily built, it doesn’t help your home’s resale value as much, even if it’s perfectly functional. It’s also important to make sure that the floor plan of the separate space isn’t awkward from the inside, as well. You don’t want to make your own home less functional in adding this new separate living space. Bump-out additions, in particular, need to look like they always belonged there. Also, if you plan on an attic renovation for this purpose, make sure that the access doesn’t look oddly placed.

The trend towards more multi-generational homes definitely makes an in-law suite or attached rental property more important than ever. With different generations moving in together for a variety of reasons, you’ll never have to worry about not having enough room in times of emergency or necessity. The AARP has done considerable research on multi-generational living, and according to them, 51 percent of their survey participants felt that they would be obligated to help out their parents in their retirement. Also, 24 percent of baby boomers expect that their parents and/or in-laws may be moving in with them in the future. Those are huge numbers. So, the value of an in-law suite grows as the world’s population continues to grow older.

Because such a space is versatile and can be used for just about anyone, it means that passing on the home to your family gives them a more valuable property than they otherwise would have had. While the exact return on investment as far as home value increases are concerned varies between real estate markets, CNBC found that basements remodeled into in-law suites can reap up to an 80 percent return on investment. Part of the reason that these get the best ROI of in-law suite additions is that adding access to them isn’t as hard as it is for bump-out additions and especially attic spaces – the latter especially rarely gets separate access.

To get the best return on investment, it’s a good idea to use universal design and make everything handicapped accessible, especially as these suites are meant to cater to older as well as younger people. Also, having separate heating and air conditioning controls are another good idea to make the space truly independent from the rest of the property. The more that the new area feels like its own home, the more valuable it will be, not just in home value, but in potential rental income, as well.