Having a separate guest house or suite on your property is extremely beneficial during these times. For one, it will provide room for when any of your members have symptoms of COVID-19 and need to self-isolate. For another, it can add value to your property. Lastly, if you have aging parents that you want to take with you instead of assisted living, a small but complete guest house might be a good option for them. This is why guest houses are also often called “in-law” suites—it’s because they’re designed for visiting relatives and other guests you may want to invite into your home. It’s like giving your guests their own home within your home.
If you have a sizable property and are thinking of doing some home remodeling projects or making some updates by adding a guest house, here are some key tips to remember.
Make sure your local building codes allow it.
When you first had your home built, you were most likely already made aware of your town, city, or state’s guidelines on buildings and properties. However, if you only bought your home, you may not know what the local building codes are. If you’re thinking of having this addition built, there might be limitations on what you can do, like perhaps a bedroom, a small kitchen, a bathroom, and a sitting area. Adding in a full kitchen might require separate types of permits. Another addition that might require separate permits is an entrance/exit separate from your main home.
There are also sewer and water connections to consider because not all municipalities allow more than one plumbing connection. Make sure you have permits for everything you’re planning to build into the addition.
Ensure that the location is perfect.
The guest house may be within your property, but these additions or separate suites also need to be about these three things: location, location, location. As mentioned above, where you place it will largely depend on what your city will allow. But once they do, make sure to place the addition in the most optimal area in your yard, preferably where the sun or other picturesque views won’t be blocked.
Consider your guest’s current and future needs.
You also need to plan it in a way that allows for efficient design while maintaining your guest’s privacy and independence—which is the whole point of a guest house or separate suite.
At the same time, who do you see staying in the suite in the future? If you’re building the addition for an aging parent or an ailing relative, make sure it’s accessible in every way and won’t require them to go up and down a long flight of stairs. A ladder going up the attic into a dainty and relaxing room might be cute for youthful able-bodied guests who would enjoy that experience and aesthetic. Still, it’s not the most functional for an elderly or disabled relative.
If your future guests will have special needs, the guest house needs to accommodate those needs. Whether it’s grab bars for the bathroom or wheelchair accessibility, it will do them a world of good if you prepare those features as early as now. Other features you need to consider for elderly parents or guests include shower seats, pull-out drawers, adjustable sinks, and other appropriate features and amenities.
Separate the utilities.
If your city allows it, ensure that the guest house or suite’s utilities are separate from your main home. This is because you want to make sure that you can switch the power and water off when the space remains unoccupied for a long time, and it will also allow you to have separate bills with your tenants if you’re planning on renting it out.
Consider making it a tiny house.
If your city allows it, consider making the suite a tiny house. Tiny houses are literally as they are named—it’s a small-scale dwelling unit with a bedroom, seating area, and kitchen but is designed to accommodate simpler ways of living. Most tiny houses don’t exceed 500 square feet in size. And the best part? A tiny house requires much less energy consumption, so it can save you a ton of money on electricity bills.
Adding a guest house, separate suite, or in-law apartment to your property is a worthwhile investment during the pandemic and one that might pay off in the real estate industry. Consult with a reputable construction company to know your options and how you can achieve the guest house of your dreams.
Meta title: Key Tips for Adding a Guest Suite to Your Home
meta desc: Adding a separate suite to your property is a good idea in the time of COVID-19. Here are some tips to remember before you start.