Trends can be hard to pick in real estate, and even harder to take advantage of. In the real estate industry, the time investment required to jump on a trend makes the process feel especially daunting. After all, most trends eventually fade away. You don’t want to obtain a loan and embark on a rehab project only to realize that everything you working on is outdated before you even finish.

Luckily, real estate trends last longer than those in fashion, and there are a few development trends that have become semi-permanent. The need for a master bathroom and a bedroom suite is here to stay, no matter the style of the house. Eco-friendly design went from a luxury to a necessity, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be going away anytime soon. Given the uncertainty of the economy and shifting cultural tides, the in-law suite is now an important development for anyone looking for a great return on their investment in a property. This is a relatively easy remodeling project that can ultimately add huge value to a house, making it an excellent addition to your fix-and-flip project.

The In-Law Suite: Where Economics and Emotions Meet

The in-law suite is a way to turn one home into two, or even three. It’s created by consolidating or combining different rooms to make what is essentially a private apartment within a home. This is valuable for many families, who have turned back toward the old tradition of having multiple generations under one roof.

For most of the 20th century, it was traditional for kids to move out when they were old enough or ready to start their own families, and for older people to sell their houses and move to a home when they reached an age at which they needed more assistance. The economic collapse in 2008 changed a lot of these expectations, though. Children began to move back home after college thanks to a collapsed job market, and older folks who couldn’t afford homes moved in with their adult children.

When it comes to aging parents, cultural expectations have merged with economic ones. A recent AARP study showed that over half of Baby Boomers would be happy to have their parents move in with them (though only a quarter seemed to anticipate it). People want their parents closer so they can take proper care of them, and so their parents can maintain independence and dignity as they get older.

Unfortunately, many houses aren’t built for this. The best intentions can be buried under tight spaces, inadequate bathrooms, and a lack of privacy. That’s why the in-law suite is the best way to accommodate this new lifestyle, causing those homes that have them to boast excellent resale value.

Building an In-Law Suite

There are several different ways to accomplish this, all of which require various levels of expense:

A Converted Garage

If you have the space in your garage, you can convert it into a multi-room suite, with a bathroom, a bedroom, possibly an office and/or living room, and maybe even a small kitchen. It can be expensive to build what is essentially a second house, but doing so offers the most privacy, space, independence, and freedom for everyone while still maintaining the convenience and safety of proximity.

Consolidating Bedrooms/Separating Floors

If a house has three bedrooms, it is possible to turn the second two and adjacent bathroom into a suite, with one room serving as an office, den, or dining room These are given their own door thanks to newly built walls.

Attic/Basement/Extra Floor

This isn’t just about finishing a basement or an attic, which are smart projects on their own, but about a full conversion into a private apartment (a basement can even have its own entrance). Additionally, a first floor can be converted into a large suite for the older generation if there is a second floor that has the right amenities for the younger folks.

What the In-Law Suite Needs

There are a few things you can do to make an in-law suite more accommodating for potential buyers.

  • Create a separate entrance, if possible. This enhances privacy.
  • Incorporate universal design to make access and usability easy for everyone.
  • Install separate controls for lighting, heating, and AC systems if possible. More individual control equals less tension.

Remember to check local codes before doing any construction, especially if you are installing multiple kitchen areas.

The in-law suite is an idea whose time has fully come, whether it is actually for an older generation or a young couple moving in with one set of parents to get their finances straight before starting their own families. For aging parents moving in with children, it is a great way to maintain independence and dignity and to take care of themselves while still having the help they may need.

More and more people are deciding that a form of home care is right for them or their parents. As parents of Boomers and even Gen X continue to age, they will have to make these choices. As someone in the California real estate business, looking for a great ROI on your fix-and-flip hard money loan, preparing buildings to accommodate this need is a great way to help people while helping your business.

Your real estate assets are your best investments for the future. At Socotra Capital, we’re proud to be the premier direct hard money lender for California real estate. We fund fix and flip/rehab projects far faster than banks. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.