Best Features to Have in an In-Law Apartment

Our last post discussed a widely-growing trend of home owners adding in-law suites, apartments or guest houses to their properties. These additions add value and appeal to listed homes, especially for foreign buyers.


Not just any in-law suite will do, however. A certain set of criteria must be met for them to be functional and desirable to buyers. Here are some aspects that may help.




A large part of the reason that home owners are inviting their parents to stay with them is because they are concerned about advancing health issues. An in-law suite should be able to anticipate onset mobility problems and prepare for them now, rather than having to make modifications later.


For one, avoid steps or path obstructions that could lead to dangerous falls. Any areas with stairs should have ramp accessibility in case mobility problems require wheel chairs or other assistance means down the road. Hallways should also be spacious enough to allow the passage of medical equipment, including hospital beds.


Showers should have a sturdy grip rail to allow older adults easy entry and exit. A built-in shower chair can also improve the functionality for an independent senior who has difficulty standing for long periods of time.




Part of the appeal of in-law suites is that they function as a separate component of the main house. They should be able to offer comparable facilities so that live-in parents will not have to come into the main part of the house several times a day to perform relatively simple tasks.


Including a kitchenette is one of the most beneficial ways to avoid this problem. A small refrigerator and oven range can allow parents to cook or prepare meals for themselves without having to feel as if they are intruding. Enough counter and cabinet space should be provided so that dry goods, plates and utensils can be stored and used without causing clutter.


Other amenities should include a sitting area for keeping occupied during the day. Bookshelves and a TV space can create entertainment when children and grandkids are not present.




While an in-law apartment does not have a lot of square footage, it should be spacious enough to move around in without feeling cramped. There should also be enough room for a rather large and comfortable bed, along with a closet for replacement linens.


These apartments can also be made to feel cozy in order for in-laws to feel welcome and well cared-for. Be sure that the architecture feels homey rather than like a commercial property or care facility.


Always consult a contractor before starting your project to get advice, including how to file for the proper permits to have a separate dwelling as part of your Burnaby real estate property.


For more guidelines on improvements that add value and appeal to your home, consult one of our expert real estate agents. Take a look at our selling page to get started.

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