Pros And Cons Of Adding An In-Law Suite

Adding an in-law suite
Is adding an in-law suite the right approach for you?

Did you know? From 1971 to 2021 the number of people living in multi-generational households has quadrupled. Why such an increase? For starters, we have an aging population that has also been considered to be higher risk with the recent COVID-19 pandemic. With many families seeing the horror of nursing home residents passing away due to the pandemic in places such as New York, the alternative has been to add on an in-law suite in many homes. Of course, another factor impacting the increased prevalence of in-law suites is simply financial. Given the economic challenges over the past several years and out-of-control inflation, many families have decided to consolidate their housing. This not only has been the case for aging parents, but also for younger generations just finishing college.

Pros of in-law suites

  • Financial savings: The most common reason cited by families opting to live in multi-generational housing arrangements is financial savings. By splitting the costs of living, these family members are able to decrease financial stress and pressure.
  • Caregiving for family members: A third of U.S. adults in multigenerational households say caregiving is a major reason for their living arrangement, including 25% who cite adult caregiving and 12% who cite child care. This has become even more prominent with an aging population.
  • Enhanced bonds or relationships among family members: This may seem obvious, but multi-generational housing arrangements tend to have closer knit family bonds. As a result, this can lead to better health outcomes and even longer life spans.

Cons of in-law suites

  • Cost: As expected, adding an in-law suite to your home can be costly. With the price of virtually all building supplies rising over the past few years, this can become quite challenging. In addition, labor shortages have also made it increasingly difficult to complete these projects.
  • Less privacy: While the thought of a multi-generational house may seem like a great idea, many family members end up missing their privacy.
  • Permitting challenges: While adding an in-law suite can be done quite seamlessly in many parts of the country, some cities and local ordinances are making it increasingly difficult in an effort to discourage these projects. Therefore, permitting challenges in your local area may make it more work than its worth. With this said, it is not advisable to attempt to complete this work without obtaining the necessary permits. In the end, additions made without the proper permits can lead to enforcement actions from your local building department and may even make your property more difficult to sell.


Although not discussed in this article, an in-law suite may also be used to provide rental income as well. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that in addition to the costs involved in constructing an in-law suite, there will likely be additional recurring costs such as increased property taxes and insurance premiums. Overall however, an in-law suite can be a great option to ultimately save money for multiple family members. Most importantly, it may provide an opportunity for families to be together!

Are you thinking about buying or selling a property in the South Florida area? Contact Natasha at Live South Florida Realty, Inc. today! Don’t forget to also download the free Florida Home Search app for your mobile device as well.

By natasha moore

REALTOR® with Live South Florida Realty, Inc.