With the experience and skills of a good contractor along with detail oriented planning, you can create a whole separate home within your home. Whether the kids move out and it feels like you have an empty basement on your hands, or a family member is looking for a place to live, a legal suite is an option you have to consider.
A legal suite can not only increase the value of your home, but also make it more marketable and, if renting it out is part of your plans, provide some extra income. Not to mention the fact that the project of refinishing a basement can be half the cost of building an above ground addition to your home.
Basement apartment projects are some of the most extensive that could be completed on your home, so when planning it you need a team that is experienced in basement conversions. A team that knows the regulations and codes that need to be met, but will still work with you to explore all the options available.
First off, to function as a separate living space, the suite will need to include its own kitchen (or kitchenette) and bathroom. This means that new electrical circuits will need to be installed. Plumbing will also have to be altered, but thanks to newer technology such as compact, high performance pumps, it can be changed so that installation doesn’t mean extensive damage to the existing slab.
Along with necessary changes to the living environment, the building codes must be met. A separate exterior entrance to the suite is necessary as well as a locking door separating the suite from the rest of the house. The bedroom should have an egress window large enough to be used as an alternative escape route. From meeting requirements such as fire safety standards, and having a proper insulation barrier, there is a lot to know.
Aside from codes and requirements, there are endless options to consider when it comes to legal suites. A number of things will increase the value of the suite, including its own washer and dryer, a good supply of power sources, closet and storage space, and a separate parking area.
If space is a concern, then the size of appliances in the kitchen, a stack-able washer and dryer, and convertible furniture should all be considered. Flooring is also important; tile or laminate flooring may look better after repeated cleanings and the changing of renters, but add area rugs and carpet tiles for some warmth and comfort. Furnishings and surfaces that are installed should be easy to clean and durable; again, lasting over repeated washes and renters.
Don’t let the enormity of a legal suite project intimidate you, because with the right team on your side the process will go smoothly from start to finish.