Adding In-Law Suites or Tiny Homes Increase Home Value 60%

Posted by Steph Kaye on Saturday, November 29th, 2014 at 12:45pm.

Living With the Whole Family

A big trend in real estate these days is making space for your in-laws, according to the Wall Street Journal. And it could potentially increase your home value as much as 60%.

More commonly known as "in-law suites" or "granny flats" and formally called "accessory dwelling units" (ADUs), these little homes, usually are somewhere between 300 and 800 square feet, are being built in backyards across the country. The multigenerational living trend has been becoming more popular due to the Great Recession, both as millennials return to their parents' homes and as baby boomers and their parents age.

The biggest obstacle is that cities tend to restrict the number of residences that can live on a property. But there are ways to get around that, if the structure is short enough, and if it's small enough in proportion to the size of the property. In these cases, it's seen more as an outbuilding and not as a residence, which helps get around neighborhood restrictions.

Many of these zoning laws that regulate residences are so out dated, that the stove is usually the dividing line over whether or not a structure is considered a home or not. So some builders add in small kitchenettes, but not stoves, just because of zoning.

Kevin Casey, the CEO of New Avenue Homes, has been helping homeowners build 'backyard cottages' for about five years using his project planning software. "It's not a cultural shift; it's a reversion to the norm," he says. "If you go to Europe or Asia, this is what it's like. This is the way families have been living for centuries."

In spite of the benefits, there are many design and regulatory issues to deal with, says Seattle-based architect Ross Chapin, who designs what he calls "right-sized homes" as well as the cottages.  "We've got communities that are still in the 1970s with a family-sized house and flanking garage being the only product out there," he says. "But I think more and more local jurisdictions are looking forward and trying to respond to the reality of life and the diversity of households and trying to find ways to meet those demands that does not add to sprawl."

 An ADU is a very large renovation and addition, with around 600 square feet of additional living space... it isn't cheap. And the cost varies greatly by geography- what costs $100,000 in upstate New York can cost $250,000 in San Francisco, Casey says. But that doesn't mean they're not worth it financially. In an study of real-estate listings, Zillow found that homes with these ADUs were priced 60% higher than those without them, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"I like to say that you're increasing the value of your home, not necessarily in the dollars you're going to sell your house for, but the value your home can deliver for the 50 years you're in it," Casey says. "If five people are getting value out of your home, not one or two, then it's at least twice as valuable."

If you are in the market for a new house and would like information on homes for sale, or are first time home buyer not working with a Realtor and would like to schedule a consultation with a qualified Oakland County and Macomb County Realtor, please complete the Lang Premier Properties contact form to have a real estate agent contact you. 

Lang Premier Properties are Birmingham Realtors specializing in Oakland County Real Estate. Stephanie is an agent with Lang Premier Properties. See what past clients have to say about Stephanie Lang.  Lang Premier Properties looks out for your best interests when you purchase a new custom luxury home. We always recommend working with an experienced luxury real estate agent when buying a new luxury estate.

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