multigenerational family

If you’re exploring a multigenerational living situation, where your parents move in with you, or where you have grown children who need to still live at home,  having a private space for them is often best for everyone. An in-law suite is a private living space that can either be attached to or adjacent to a house, while also giving end elder parents the dignity and freedom they need to maintain their independence or adult children the opportunity to find stability away from in home living. Whether you’re preparing for your parents to move in soon or anticipating the possibility for your adult children to move back home, read on to learn everything you need to know. 

What is an in-law suite?

There are different reasons to include an in-law suite in your home.  It’s an opportunity to allow grown children to remain in the home or for them to care for their aging parents without putting them in assisted living. An in-law suite is also an opportunity for generations to live close and an opportunity to spend more time together and continue to make memories.

An in-law suite is typically an independent structure on the property, usually referred to as a casita in Las Vegas. However, it can also be built into the property, such as a basement apartment with full amenities like a kitchen, bathroom, living space and bedroom, and a separate main entrance. 

Factors to consider when building an in-law suite

Whether you want to build an in-law suite as an independent structure on your property, you want to convert part of your home to accommodate family members, or you’re searching for a new house that has an in-law suite already included, there are several important factors to consider before you take this step.

Available space

If you’re building an in-law suite, the first factor is if you have enough space. This may mean assessing your available acreage to determine how you can create an independent structure while still keeping enough open space in the backyard. Or, if you plan on converting part of your home, such as your basement, your next step should be working with an architect to determine how you can repurpose the existing square footage in your home.


If you intend to buy a new house with an in-law suite already built on site, availability may be limited. However, if the in-law suite is your top priority, work with a real estate agent specializing in this type of amenity, and search for homes that include this space in the property description.


Before you purchase a home with the intent to build an in-law suite, check the local zoning codes before you buy a property and later find out you can’t build any structures or you’re unable to convert your home’s interior to accommodate this usage.

Consider alternative uses

If you won’t use the in-law suite immediately, or if you don’t anticipate it being used for long, then think about different ways you can convert this area. Possible options include:

  • Home office
  • Guest suite
  • Nanny housing
  • Creative outlet
  • Home gym
  • Movie theater