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School Me: “In-law” apartments

  1. #1
    Lifer
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    School Me: “In-law” apartments


    My father had a heart attack and died Tuesday morning.


    I don’t know what my mother’s plans are but I’m worried about her being lonely and sad and am curious about the reality of building an addition on my property.

    I already emailed the electrical inspector and county commissioner to find out who to talk to to find out if it’s even an option on my property.

    Of course I am over simplifying it, but I know a guy who can frame, I can do the electrical, my neighbor can do plumbing, I think the only think I would have to pay professionals would be septic and foundation.


    Anyone out there build an in-law?


    I have a detached three car garage with a massive car port to the right of it.

    I don’t know if I can build a second story on the garage since there are no load bearing beams or poles in the garage, it’s wide open and the ceiling is just joists with insulation.

    I’m thinking I could tear the car port down and maybe build a structure in its place, maybe twelve feet wide and 36ish feet long.


    Just throwing it out there for anyone who DOESNT want to call me an ask hole and shit on me.

    Call your family right now and tell them you love them.

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  2. #2
    Posting Freak MUZ720's Avatar
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    I am sorry for your loss of your Dad! Having lost both my parents early, and being 61 myself my prayers goes out to you. A lot of emotions are going on and I know you want to fix things. take your time and remember him.

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  3. #3
    Mophead going grey dontpanic's Avatar
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    I'm sorry to hear of your loss, too.

    I don't have any contribution about building one - when we bought our prior home, the garage had already been converted to an in-law apartment.

    My in-laws spent several summers with us, and our kids will always have those great memories. Later, my brother stayed with us when he was experiencing turmoil in his marriage, which made that really tough period a little easier for him. For a short time, we helped out an older couple after their home sold, and it was there to help when a co-worker experienced some flooding.

    Overall, it was a great resource to have.

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  4. #4
    Lifer
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    You may have problems depending on the size of your septic, land size, property lines etc. It can be a real mess trying to do it legally.

    My initial thought is to slave out one of the garage bays to use as the in law. Section it out and start building internally. Hopefully it's not far from your septic or water supply.

    An addition to your house would be best but if your house isnt really layed out to make it an easy add on you may start to run into a lot of money.

    have you thought of a mobile home or camper? Or a tiny home on a trailer to build on your property? Less legal hassle and probably the cheapest way out.

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  5. #5
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    I have designed septic system expansions for accessory apartments, is this in MA ? if so, I don't know a goddamn thing except that everything is illegal, cover yer ass,

    in NH, the state passed a law that they are allowed everywhere a single family home is allowed, but the town can regulate size, occupancy, attached/detached, etc., and if on a septic system, the lot has to be big enough to support wastewater loading. I've actually been doing a lot of expansions lately, seems to be more popular with helping with the mortgage, than a place for mother in law to live

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    RandyO
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  6. #6
    Lifer LuvDog's Avatar
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    Sorry for you loss

    We're doing the same thing as you and looking to either add on to the house, convert a garage stall, or tear down the garages and build out that part of our house with a completely different floor plan.

    Fortunately for us, we're on town water/sewer and don't have to worry about septic.

    About our only contstraint is our set backs.

    I would not even consider the building over you garage option. Even if it could bear the load... the appeal of a first floor/single level for aging parents is our top priority.

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  7. #7
    Lifer
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    I have designed septic system expansions for accessory apartments, is this in MA ? if so, I don't know a goddamn thing except that everything is illegal, cover yer ass,

    in NH, the state passed a law that they are allowed everywhere a single family home is allowed, but the town can regulate size, occupancy, attached/detached, etc., and if on a septic system, the lot has to be big enough to support wastewater loading. I've actually been doing a lot of expansions lately, seems to be more popular with helping with the mortgage, than a place for mother in law to live
    New Hampshire. 1.42 acre lot, leech field in front yard, septic tank on front left corner of the house, well in back yard.

    Tearing that carport down or going up on the garage is the opposite side of the septic tank and service.
    -d8d390ed-0d58-4ad1-b963-876bfe7e07e5

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  8. #8
    Lifer
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    Quote Originally Posted by LuvDog View Post
    Sorry for you loss

    We're doing the same thing as you and looking to either add on to the house, convert a garage stall, or tear down the garages and build out that part of our house with a completely different floor plan.

    Fortunately for us, we're on town water/sewer and don't have to worry about septic.

    About our only contstraint is our set backs.

    I would not even consider the building over you garage option. Even if it could bear the load... the appeal of a first floor/single level for aging parents is our top priority.
    You’re right, I already thought stairs wouldn’t be ideal. The garage has a 100A sub panel, so I’m thinking building to the right and wrap around the back a little.

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  9. #9
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    Quote Originally Posted by Gixxer View Post
    New Hampshire. 1.42 acre lot, leech field in front yard, septic tank on front left corner of the house, well in back yard.

    Tearing that carport down or going up on the garage is the opposite side of the septic tank and service.
    -d8d390ed-0d58-4ad1-b963-876bfe7e07e5
    pm me the town and address, or tax map & lot Number, I can look at town zoning, (sometimes it takes a pro to interpret) and other info I can find online

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    RandyO
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  10. #10
    Lifer
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    pm me the town and address, or tax map & lot Number, I can look at town zoning, (sometimes it takes a pro to interpret) and other info I can find online
    Thank you

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  11. #11
    Lifer tsorfas's Avatar
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    In most cases if you don’t plan renting it down the road there are no issues at all. There is no law preventing you from adding bathroom/kitchen/bedroom to your existing home as long as it meets code.
    If you want to legally make it an in law apartment and rent it down the road then it requires to meet zoning requirements and a permit for in law. Doesn’t seem like you care about that.
    I will say that in this economy, we also looked into this, it’s not worth it from the investing (exclusively) aspect you won’t get ROI in “most” cases. Again doesn’t seem to matter in your case as the reasons behind it are different.

    - edit just looked at the picture you posted. Do you have hot water and plumbing in the garage?
    It may be better to consider adding on the left side of the house as an addition to keep costs lower if that’s an option.

    Sorry to hear about your father - May his soul Rest In Peace

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    Last edited by tsorfas; 12-21-19 at 09:46 AM.

  12. #12
    Lifer
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    Quote Originally Posted by tsorfas View Post
    In most cases if you don’t plan renting it down the road there are no issues at all. There is no law preventing you from adding bathroom/kitchen/bedroom to your existing home as long as it meets code.
    If you want to legally make it an in law apartment and rent it down the road then it requires to meet zoning requirements and a permit for in law. Doesn’t seem like you care about that.
    I will say that in this economy, we also looked into this, it’s not worth it from the investing (exclusively) aspect you won’t get ROI in “most” cases. Again doesn’t seem to matter in your case as the reasons behind it are different.

    - edit just looked at the picture you posted. Do you have hot water and plumbing in the garage?
    It may be better to consider adding on the left side of the house as an addition to keep costs lower if that’s an option.

    Sorry to hear about your father - May his soul Rest In Peace
    Thanks, and thanks for responding.

    No plumbing in the garage but the left side of the house has the least property space off the house to build. Anyone know how close to your property line you’re allowed to build?

    There’s a screened in porch off the back, might have to tear that down and build back.

    Not sure.

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  13. #13
    Lifer LuvDog's Avatar
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    Quote Originally Posted by Gixxer View Post
    Thanks, and thanks for responding.

    No plumbing in the garage but the left side of the house has the least property space off the house to build. Anyone know how close to your property line you’re allowed to build?

    There’s a screened in porch off the back, might have to tear that down and build back.

    Not sure.
    Depends on your town. My town says 10 feet away from the property line.

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  14. #14
    Lifer tsorfas's Avatar
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    Yea that’s also town specific. Mine is 10 from property line and minimum 30 from the street.
    Exceptions are easy to get granted if nobody else will build near the property line.

    It was also the same for us. It would make sense to take down the deck

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  15. #15
    Lifer
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    Quote Originally Posted by LuvDog View Post
    Depends on your town. My town says 10 feet away from the property line.
    That doesn’t surprise me, and yet it’s funny how close some houses are in more urban areas.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by LuvDog View Post
    Depends on your town. My town says 10 feet away from the property line.
    That doesn’t surprise me, and yet it’s funny how close some houses are in more urban areas.

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  16. #16
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    My neighbors tried to build an oversized detached 2 car with in-law apartment above. They got hung up on a provision where the total living sqft would exceed some ratio to the land. We are zoned “rural” so the ratio was pretty high and their main house is pretty big. We also have 50’ side setbacks. They applied for a variance and were denied. I think a neighbor behind them objected.

    Same board approved a huge addition for my other neighbor when she wanted to invade the setbacks. Everyone told me she had no chance yet they approved unanimously. So who can tell.

    Wonder if your code enforcement cat could comment.

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  17. #17
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    I think a neighbor behind them objected.
    Isn't The Audubon Society the land owner behind everything on your side of the street

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    RandyO
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  18. #18
    Lifer
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    Isn't The Audubon Society the land owner behind everything on your side of the street
    Mine? There’s a large piece of land behind me and my neighbors, and a rec trail nearby, not sure who owns the land behind me.

    Ironically the neighbor on one side of me built an in law, and the other neighbor has an in law living with them.

    I’m waiting for after the holiday to start hitting them up with questions.

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  19. #19
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    Quote Originally Posted by Gixxer View Post
    Mine? There’s a large piece of land behind me and my neighbors, and a rec trail nearby, not sure who owns the land behind me.

    Ironically the neighbor on one side of me built an in law, and the other neighbor has an in law living with them.

    I’m waiting for after the holiday to start hitting them up with questions.
    I was referring to bubba's

    you can find your abutting landowners here

    https://www.axisgis.com/SandownNH/

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    RandyO
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  20. #20
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    Cat that got denied is on the other side of the street. He has houses behind. Neighbor that got unanimous approval abuts the conservation space. Although I can’t remember if that was before or after.

    My point is there are a lot of rules. Some not obvious. And there is always politics.

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  21. #21
    Lifer
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    So it’s 15’ off the side boundaries in my town. But that isn’t set in stone either?

    The building inspector was actually really easy going and said zoning restrictions have been lightened which I had just read yesterday.

    Have a contractor coming out after Xmas.

    I just realized the carport has six concrete footings, 10’ apart and 15’ across.
    Curious if that could be the base for a structure and save money on a concrete foundation.

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  22. #22
    Lifer
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    I have designed septic system expansions for accessory apartments, is this in MA ? if so, I don't know a goddamn thing except that everything is illegal, cover yer ass,

    in NH, the state passed a law that they are allowed everywhere a single family home is allowed, but the town can regulate size, occupancy, attached/detached, etc., and if on a septic system, the lot has to be big enough to support wastewater loading. I've actually been doing a lot of expansions lately, seems to be more popular with helping with the mortgage, than a place for mother in law to live
    I meet with a contractor this afternoon (unless he cancels due to weather).

    But where I want to build on my lot is the opposite corner of the property from our septic system.

    If I heard the building inspector on the phone correctly, I would need a new septic plan in place approved by the town, but don’t necessarily have to install it unless the current one fails?

    Regardless, it seems I would have to install an additional holding tank for the in law.

    Is that allowed or common? Or am I overlooking something.

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  23. #23
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    I have designed systems several ways depending on situation, add to existing system, either by gravity or a pump, or an entirely new system for just the apartment, or an entirely new system for everything

    expansion of use, design is required, but installation is at discretion of town, if existing system is less than 20 years old

    not sure if your building inspector knows your system is less than 20, or is still behind the times, (old rules just a couple years ago didn't have the 20 year condition)

    a 1 bedroom apt requires adding 350 gal to the minimum 1250 gal tank, if you have a tank bigger than 1600 gal, nothing is required. tank size is total doesn't have to be in 1 tank, infact better to have in multiple tanks in series

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    RandyO
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  24. #24
    Lifer
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    So it seems like all in for an in law apartment is about $120,000-$140,000 or much. More depending on materials. Framing being the biggest itemized cost at roughly $35,000.

    That $140k is with a foundation and kitchen appliances.

    If we build on top of our garage looks like it will be roughly $98,500.

    First consideration as to what I could do myself or with friends gets it down to about $87k.

    That’s for a 864 sq ft two bedroom in law apartment.



    The biggest surprise to me is that any septic components are required to be 75’ away from the well.

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  25. #25
    Lifer tsorfas's Avatar
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    Re: School Me: “In-law” apartments

    Numbers seem spot on with what we got. This economy is driving prices up, especially in this industry

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