Over the past few years, adding a mother-in-law suite to a home has been rising in popularity here in the Twin Cities and beyond. A few years ago, only a few areas around town had changed laws and codes in order to allow them, but codes have become increasingly favorable to in-law-suite additions across Minneapolis. And during the pandemic, the idea became even more attractive for families who wanted to keep their loved ones close and safe during uncertain times. If you have the space, the need, or the desire to add an in-law unit, now could be the right time.
In the construction world, we often call an in-law apartment an “Accessory Dwelling Unit” or “ADU” for short. But what do all of these terms mean for you if you want to add one? An ADU is more than just building up or bumping out part of your house for some extra space. A real accessory dwelling unit includes a full bedroom, a full kitchen, a full bathroom and a living room area. Sometimes it includes even more than that, but on its most basic level, an ADU is essentially a small, fully-contained one-bedroom apartment with its own entrance, separate from your main home entrance. The residents of the in-law suite can come and go without disturbing the residents of the main house.
There are also different ways to build an in-law suite. They can be “attached” (like adding a garage, a build out or a build up onto the main house), “detached” (like a separate garage or smaller building on the property that is not attached to the original house), or “interior” (like an attic or basement conversion). If you plan to have aging relatives live in your in-law apartment, you'll need to consider accessibility issues as well. For example, climbing a lot of stairs to the attic, or an apartment over a garage may be difficult for aging knees, and totally impossible for a wheelchair. The design must take the eventual residents into account.
Do mother-in-law suites add value? Of course, it’s hard to pin down an exact number for this, but in-law-suites are one of the most in-demand aspects of home sales right now, simply because they bring so much opportunity, both for having extended family stay close, or for the potential rental income. If you rent out the space, you can even recoup the costs for the remodel in a short amount of time. ADUs are also seen as a potential solution to the tight housing market here in the Twin Cities right now. On average, you can expect to see about a 30 percent rise in home value and higher demand for your home if you put it on the market. Of course, the key to creating that value is to make sure to do it the right way, in partnership with a design build firm Minneapolis homeowners have come to trust for top-notch remodeling work of this magnitude. The cost of adding a mother-in-law suite can be substantial, so making sure to use the right materials, design and construction firm will go a long way to making sure this investment counts. In the end, the ADU needs to look like it belongs on the property in terms of style and size, as well as code.
Naturally, one of the biggest questions people want to know the answer to is: how much will building a mother-in-law suite cost? An average remodeling job here in Minneapolis can run between $225 to $300 per square foot. For a comfortable grandparent-suite, you’ll want to allow for around 800 to 1200 square feet, which means with other costs you should budget between $250,000 and $400,000 for the project. Of course, these wide price ranges come because each ADU could be built with a wide variety of materials, installed appliances, in different configurations (such as attached, detached or interior), and some may come with extra ramps for wheelchair access and need other accessibility additions. The cost can also depend upon how much the existing home structure needs to be changed in order to accommodate the new construction, or if it will be an entirely new, detached dwelling, like a detached garage-turned-apartment. Adding a garage with apartment costs may differ from adding an apartment in your basement, or at the back of your house. And obviously, local building codes need to be taken into consideration as well. A mother-in-law house cost can also increase if you need to add an elevator that can accommodate a wheelchair into the build. And although in-law suite addition costs can vary so widely, working with a professional design-build firm like Black Dog Homes, with our unique hassle-saving process can help you stick with your budget and create an in-law suite that serves well and brings more value to your home and your life for years to come.
For many homeowners, this can be a very wise investment, both financially, and for family lifestyle reasons. The key is to start with a trusted design-build partner who has extensive experience in ADU construction codes here in the Twin Cities, and can guide you through the process for the best results. Be sure to take a look at our additions gallery, and also download our pricing guide for more in-depth details about how much different kinds of in-law suites and other remodels can cost in our area. And don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us to talk about your needs and dreams for your mother-in-law suite. Call us today at 763.308.5098!
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