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In-Law Suites

From the October-November 2009 Tennessee Homes:

In-law suites add value and privacy to a home
By Liz Baker

These days, more and more generations of families are living under one roof. In fact, according to the last U.S. Census, 3.9 million American homes have three or more generations living together in a single home. This is why in-law suites and teen suites are becoming much more popular in new homes. “An in-law suite can be a good investment, as it increases the size of your home and gives more appeal to the average consumer as far as finding a place that could suit not only their immediate needs but also their needs of the future,” says Allen Perry, a Realtor with the Perry Property Group in Nashville.
If you plan on including a teen or in-law suite into your new home, there are many factors that should be taken into account before you make any final decisions.
According to J. George Schneider with TurnberryHomes, home buyers first should determine the suite’s space and how it will be used, which is important since these areas can add anywhere from 400 to 500 square feet to a home. And depending on how much square footage you require, you might rule out certain floorplans due to their layout. Schneider says semi-custom and custom homebuilders will more than likely offer floor plans that can accommodate suites.
Regardless of the floor plan you choose, the suite area will most likely be strategically placed in a secluded area away from main gathering points of the home. Schneider says most suites are made for privacy, which is why they are usually found in basements, bonus rooms or oversized rooms above garages.
In fact, the whole purpose of these areas is to allow maximum freedom with minimum disturbances to the rest of the residents in the home.
“It is always good to make sure that the in-law suite can function independently from the rest of the house,” says Allen Perry with the Perry Property Group in Nashville. In addition to being placed in certain areas of the home, these suites also have common traits and characteristics. Schneider adds that most in-law suites include easy accessibility; an access door to the outside; a kitchen area with appliances and a sink; a full bathroom; a bedroom with a closet; and a living area.
When it comes to teen suites, which are most often built over an oversized garage or in a bonus room, Schneider says they are considered complete when they include a full bathroom and a large bedroom with some extras like a small sitting or study area.
“These days, children spend more time in the home than out, so a teen suite provides a great space just for them,” Schneider says. When built into a new home, the inclusion of one of these suites is cost effective and can be designed to fit your taste and style. Although the room and all of its amenities can serve a purpose now, when considering the function of a room, always look to the future as well as the present in order to stretch your home-buying dollar.
“(Suites) should always be versatile in their purpose so that they could easily be used as a bonus area, an office, a movie room, an optional master suite or a guest quarters for long-term guests,” says Perry.
If you have questions about adding an in-law or teen suite to your new home, consult a local builder about your options.

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