Mother-Daughter Home Considerations

Mother-Daughter Home Considerations
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    Your home offers good square footage, but to bring in another person means seriously considering making a change to its layout.


That other person may be your mother, another relative, a friend, or even a stranger. In these cases you’re considering making your home livable for one more individual, a person who will have his or her own entrance and living quarters.

Homes with such an arrangement have been called mother-daughter houses in the past and are sometimes known as in-law suites. Regardless of the name to describe it, there are some matters to consider before you make a home renovation.

Is it legal? You may desire to renovate your home, but your homeowner’s association or town council may have a say in whether this is possible. Figure that if you have an association covenant, making such a change to your home may not be possible.

Your town, too, may restrict what you do to your home, especially if it changes the home’s footprint and impacts your neighbors homes and your community alike. You can find out what your town’s rules and restrictions are by contacting your the planning board.

Is it feasible? Not every home expansion makes sense. From either a practical or logistical standpoint. You may have in mind to expand the home’s footprint, but if that entails expanding its footings, your cost just increased significantly.

It is one thing to take a garage or a bonus room and convert it to living quarters. Expanding the home itself can be a costly move and you may not be able to justify that expense. Your other option here is to buy another home with the ideal living arrangement already in place.

Is it comfortable? Converting a garage into a living space may seem like a great way to go. But is the garage large enough to provide separate living, dining and sleeping quarters? You may be able to fit everything in one place, but will it be comfortable for the individual that will be living there?

Expect to run plumbing and possibly electrical lines to make the apartment livable. You may also need to connect heating and air-conditioning, blow in insulation, raise the floor, and update the exterior of the house. New windows, doors, steps, dry wall, ceilings, trim and flooring may need to be installed. The apartment should be as comfortable as the rest of the house.

Is it affordable? A simple garage to apartment conversion may cost you less than $5,000 especially if you are able to handle at least some of the work yourself. Your greatest cost here will be materials and perhaps permits. Sweat equity will cover the remaining costs. Expanding the home’s footprint, adding new wiring and plumbing, installing a new bath and a kitchenette can drive your costs much higher, perhaps to $50,000 or more. That cost may be within your budget or it may strain your finances.

To afford a home renovation, you may be able to tap your retirement funds, an ideal option if you are already of retirement age. Another option is your home’s equity with a home equity loan (HEL) or a home equity line of credit (HELOC) making your mother-daughter home arrangement possible. An advantage here is that your loan should be tax deductible; check with your accountant on how this could be made possible.

Other Options

Besides updating your home, you may find that placing a cottage on your property is another option. If your property is large enough and your town allows it, you could place an outbuilding nearby, a cottage or an apartment-sized building. You’d have to run plumbing and electricity, and build an entirely separate building, but it could prove to be the best option for you and your new tenant.

See AlsoHEL and HELOC Considerations



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Categories: Home Interior

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".