Dollars and Sense

Photo - Wall Street Journal

Photo – Wall Street Journal

November 24, 2014

“The hottest amenity in real estate these days is an in-law unit, an apartment carved out of an existing home or a stand-alone dwelling built on the homeowners’ property.” So states a recent Wall Street Journal article, The Hottest Home Amenity: In-Law Apartments. The article goes on to say that many national and regional home builders are jumping into the market and offering new homes that include integral or detached in-law units. And a Zillow study found that the listing prices of homes with in-law units in major cities were 60% higher than the listing prices of homes that didn’t have units. It’s nice to see that the market is recognizing the value of second units.

Flexibility adds real value and is high on the list of benefits that an in-law / accessory / second unit can offer homeowners. What’s a rental unit today could later turn into a private room for a caregiver, or could house a returning college graduate who is not yet employed. For an older homeowner who plans to spend time on the road exploring the world or visiting family, moving into the second unit and renting out the rest of the house might be attractive. For a younger couple, creating a rental unit in a just-purchased home would ease the strain of large mortgage payments and later the unit could house a nanny or be integrated back into the house and become a baby’s room. A flexible property that is on the market is apt to attract a larger pool of buyers since it would meet a variety of needs, and the potential rental income would make it affordable to more buyers.

Second units can turn underutilized space into a steady income stream in the near term and into a higher sales price when a home is eventually sold. Second units just make sense. If you are interested in exploring the creation of a second unit in your home, please contact us.