• – By Lou Volk

When Mom & Dad move in


The aging of North Americans and the rising cost of housing are bringing families back together, and we feel this is a good trend.

How many nationalities naturally live this way and have for centuries? For example, East Indian and Italian cultures most often do this. We know many families that, unless you are married, you stay home.

An Understanding Spouse

If you are still married, each set of spouses need to get along as a minimum, much better if they at least like one another. It does make economical sense though. We had a recent case where two $300,000+ homes were sold and a $450,000 home purchased. This allowed Mom and Dad to have some additional discretionary income and not be relegated to the ‘lonely waste land’.

Of course, one needs to keep one’s nose out of some types of business! It has been said that women cannot share a kitchen, so don’t just get a bedroom and a bath.

This is a long-term proposition you are taking, and of course there will be additional things the spouses will have to do, and not all folks will still be driving, and may occasionally need something picked up at the store, etc.

Types of Homes Requested

The main request is that Mom and Dad want a bright space. Sticking people in the dungeon-like basement generally does not work. Therefore, homes with walk out basements are routinely sourced out provide private access and lots of light.

The in-law suite needs to have the basics: Bedroom, living room, eat-in kitchen and a four piece bathroom. The typical size is 600 to 900 sq.ft., which in most cases still leaves room for shared laundry and some storage in the furnace room.

Housing styles that are best suited are raised ranch homes with sloped rear properties. These one-floor homes afford ample space in the lower level to accommodate the in-law and still have space for an extra room.

A backsplit can sometimes work well depending on the design. I for example, grew up with my Grandmother living in the upstairs of our 1-½ storey home. Some older style homes were almost purposely built in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s that allowed for an upper in-law suite or apartment.

Creating an In-Law Suite

There are no rules preventing you from creating an in-law suite in any home you decide to purchase. An in-law suite does not require a private entrance, although it is preferred.

Building permits are required for all major renovations, so this should be considered. Building a kitchen, bath and living area requires plumbing, heating, and electrical work that need to be safely designed and installed. The cost can be modest or sky’s the limit, as with any renovation.

Resulting Real Estate Value

Value is based on supply and demand. Demand is increasing and supply will outpace supply with the current Baby Boomer demographics. We believe these homes will increase in value above the average rate for Real Estate increases. The proviso is that it is the style with bright walkouts or above grade in-law suites in good condition and reasonable layouts. Sleeping in the furnace room is not going to be attractive!

Anytime you customize a home for a particular style of living, it may take a little longer market time to find the right buyer. This does not indicate less value. The buying cycle is much longer for these types of sales as more input from interested parties is required.

Hey, it’s family! That’s just it, isn’t it? We should look after our own, if we can. Not always possible nor easy, but still worth trying.

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Lou Volk is a Real Estate Broker, Accredited Buyer Representative, Market Value Appraiser and Senior Real Estate Representative with the Walsh & Volk ReMax Real Estate Team. www.walshandvolk.com

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