housing for in-laws

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jwhitaker
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housing for in-laws

Post by jwhitaker »

Hi all, just looking for some advice since housing choices have big financial implications. My wife and in-laws come from another country and culture where grandparents are much more involved in the daily life of adult children. The in-laws have been staying with us for about a year. They are saints and do tons of chores and baby-sitting (we have one child age 6), but alas I am American and I need my space. We live in a single family home with an open floorplan and while they have their own bedroom and bathroom I have a desire to no longer share the kitchen. I also would like to not have to listen to their activities in the kitchen while I try to enjoy quiet in other areas of the house, which is difficult now. My wife has no problem with the current arrangement other than me not liking it.

So the options are:
1) do nothing and I remain miserable and lose my mind (don't want to do this)
2) they permanently move back to their country and they lose their green cards and ability to visit the US (don't want to do this)
3) buy them a small house or condo nearby
4) move to a new house with 2 kitchens
5) renovate our current house to make another kitchen, e.g. in the basement
6) build a new construction home customized for in-law living

#3 is pretty viable but they feel uncomfortable living alone not knowing English and there are a lot of little expenses like extra electric/gas/trash/internet bills. #4 is somewhat viable although it is difficult to find exactly the setup we like. This and #5 would be pretty easy except they do not want to live in a basement (can't blame them), although walkout with lots of light would be ok I think. I don't think we could add-on above ground because our lot is small. Also I was told that is very very expensive to do. #6 is interesting, I just have no idea what a custom home would cost relative to an existing home of similar size/location. Other reasons why I would not want to move would be our very low current mortgage rate and we love our kids school.

My wife and I would be fully paying expenses of both households in the US. All are technically feasible, but obviously it is a big enough decision financially for me to be asking for advice.

Thoughts?
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dm200
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by dm200 »

1. Could you enlarge/modify the current house to give you more separation/privacy - but keep the current kitchen arrangement?

2. Might there be existing houses in your neighborhood that would work (for all involved)?
Hug401k
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by Hug401k »

My first thought would be to approach it differently. Instead of you not wanting to listen to kitchen noise from your living room, is there somewhere else you could go?

How about a big man cave in the basement, complete with TV/bar/fridge/Hobby, so you have a place to hide out when needed? Spring for extra sound insulation. I think maybe it's too many people in one space for your comfort, but a get away place might be what you need more than an extra kitchen. Maybe add an office area down there too?

Maybe you could give up some space near their bedroom for a kitchenette. Are they making 3 course meals or just making a cup of coffee? A small fridge, a toaster oven, a sink, a coffee maker?

Finally, I think I would price out adding an in-law suite. Seems like realtor fees alone might pay for 1/2 that.

Good luck!
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Watty
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by Watty »

You also need to talk with your wife about what the situation will be as they age. There could be the expectation that she will care for them in your home when it is needed.

If so then one of the options with an in-law suit and maybe a man-cave would work best and that would likely involve getting a different house. It will vary by area but I would suspect that houses like these occasionally come on the market so I would not be in a hurry to build a custom home.
casualflower
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by casualflower »

You should reconsider #3. After a year, it's seems like it's time for your DW to push her parents out of the nest. They're adults, they'll learn the language if they have to.

The little expenses will be far less than the cost (versus value) of a kitchen add-on, buying a house with two kitchens, or building new.
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dm200
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by dm200 »

Hug401k wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:39 pm My first thought would be to approach it differently. Instead of you not wanting to listen to kitchen noise from your living room, is there somewhere else you could go?
How about a big man cave in the basement, complete with TV/bar/fridge/Hobby, so you have a place to hide out when needed? Spring for extra sound insulation. I think maybe it's too many people in one space for your comfort, but a get away place might be what you need more than an extra kitchen. Maybe add an office area down there too?
Maybe you could give up some space near their bedroom for a kitchenette. Are they making 3 course meals or just making a cup of coffee? A small fridge, a toaster oven, a sink, a coffee maker?
Finally, I think I would price out adding an in-law suite. Seems like realtor fees alone might pay for 1/2 that.
Good luck!
I would also consider these options.
My wife has no problem with the current arrangement other than me not liking it.
A "key" - in my opinion.

I am not in that situation, but I know folks who are. Depending on the details, one of the benefits I might like is sharing the cuisine of that country/culture. Then again .. different folks have different tastes..
Maya1234
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by Maya1234 »

I can't even stand to have houseguests for a night because I need my space so I'm very sympathetic to your feelings. Any arena near you with coach houses on the property? That would obviously be the best solution.others?

Build one of those tiny homes on the property of a new home?

Look for a ranch home with a split bedroom configuration and do a microwave/ fridge eating/ living area for them on their side ?

At the very least move to a home with a non-open floor plan. I hAte open floor plans.
London
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by London »

My inlaws live with us but I didn't agree to it until I found the perfect setup. They have their own separate kitchen, living room, entrance, etc and it has worked out fine. There is only one door that connects the main living space and we generally leave it close (and knock if we want to see each other). I have young kids and they have benefited from having the grand parents close. I rarely see them during the week and it's gone better than I had hoped.

There have been a few issues which were to be expected. My FIL had to get used to not being "the man of the house". I don't seek his input on any decisions and he had to get used to that. Otherwise, as long as they stay out of your relationship and how you raise the kids, it can work. But it's all about the setup.
mouses
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by mouses »

The kitchen use seems to be the problem. As someone suggested above, a kitchenette might be added. Or can you make activity in the current kitchen less noticeable by adding a wall, preferably one with soundproofing?

I would think if you move to a two story house a second kitchen could be added in the second floor, and one of those stair seat things added so climbing stairs is not a problem for them.

I grew up in a one story duplex divided in the middle with my grandparents in the other side from us. It was great having my grandparents that close and good for them as they aged. Don't overlook the effect on your kid of the current setup vs. a change.
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Sandtrap
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by Sandtrap »

jwhitaker wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:08 pm So the options are:
1) do nothing and I remain miserable and lose my mind (don't want to do this)
2) they permanently move back to their country and they lose their green cards and ability to visit the US (don't want to do this)
3) buy them a small house or condo nearby
4) move to a new house with 2 kitchens
5) renovate our current house to make another kitchen, e.g. in the basement
6) build a new construction home customized for in-law living
. . .
My wife and I would be fully paying expenses of both households in the US. All are technically feasible, but obviously it is a big enough decision financially for me to be asking for advice.

Thoughts?
Inter-cultural marriages are difficult for this reason and one should know beforehand, but that is water under the bridge.
1. . . . from another viewpoint, extended family is . . family. Western culture has a smaller circle then another outward from that and so forth. Asians and other eastern cultures, only 2. Which means when you marry a spouse, you marry the family, sort of. So perhaps greater understanding may make things amiable. And, finding ways to have your "space" and privacy in other ways. Cooperation vs resistance. Change vs otherwise. Accommodation vs . . . .
If inlaws understand your family "setup" and "ways" then there can be a supportive common ground.
2. . . if you cause this. . . things will be dire.
3. . . yes.. . but the underlying message is you do not want your "extended family" in your home which means. . . culturally,. . . your life.
4.. . . very good idea if affordable. And. . the extended family will do everything to help financially and otherwise to repay your efforts.
5. . . also readily understood as you are accommodating, respecting "their" privacy, and they will return, in kind.
5. . . of course ideal,. . . or if a home suited to such can be found. . .again. . . your efforts will be repaid.

I hope this input from a cultural perspective is actionable and helpful to you. I have some personal experience with it with close friends, family, relatives, etc. Western American to Filipino, to Japanese, to Chinese, to Vietnamese, to Hawaiian, and so forth. Each is wonderfully unique in relationships.
j :D
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dm200
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by dm200 »

Each is wonderfully unique in relationships.
and the food is often very good, as well. :)
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lthenderson
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by lthenderson »

jwhitaker wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:08 pm Hi all, just looking for some advice since housing choices have big financial implications. My wife and in-laws come from another country and culture
So the options are:

1) do nothing and I remain miserable and lose my mind (don't want to do this)
2) they permanently move back to their country and they lose their green cards and ability to visit the US (don't want to do this)
3) buy them a small house or condo nearby
4) move to a new house with 2 kitchens
5) renovate our current house to make another kitchen, e.g. in the basement
6) build a new construction home customized for in-law living
I'm in the same boat with the exception I have an foreign in-law and not in-laws.

We ended up settling on option 5 and creating an in-law suite down in the basement. I fully finished it out complete with ceilings, flooring and drywall so it looks every bit like part of the upstairs. We do have a walkout basement and I built her side along the wall with full windows so it gets plenty of natural light. It has a full bathroom, private bedroom and even a living room she claims except on weekends during winter when we use the fireplace down in that room. I could also put a kitchenette but haven't thus far. She does her cooking when I'm out in the garage (my fortress of solitude) or doing errands so it really doesn't interfere noise wise. We did put a dorm refrigerator downstairs so she can store some things downstairs.

We are on the final year the 5-year waiting period before she can apply for citizenship and then come and go as she pleases. It hasn't been easy at times but it has been a blessing other times. It was definitely the right choice for us.
IMO
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by IMO »

jwhitaker wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:08 pm Thoughts?
What does your wife feel about the different options you present? She seems fine with currently arrangement, and you're starting to lose it at year 1 with the new arrangement. How will you be at year 2, 3, etc. because it only is likely to get harder and harder to "request" a change. You don't seem to mention if there is a specific time frame where the arrangement will end, such as once your kid is in middle school? I can only see this situation down the road causing martial discord. Perhaps if there is an unwillingness to discuss/compromise, then you should seek marital counseling? I'm aware how cultural differences can affect families personally.

Of the options you present, with the limited financial information provided, I'd opt to move the in-laws either into a renovated basement, or into a small condo nearby.

While they may not like the basement now, properly done, a basement can be very nice. There is a Canadian HGTV guy who's whole show is about renovating basements to assist in owner's mortgages. Perhaps looking up those shows and presenting that to the spouse?

If it's a truly long term issue and the basement isn't an option, I'd opt to invest in a 2nd place. Perhaps in 40 years, if you're living in the same house you are currently in, the condo/other small home will be the home your kid lives in and helps his aging parents out while not living under the same roof?
J295
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by J295 »

Number 3
lostinjersey
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by lostinjersey »

I’m in a very similar situation except I’m the DIL. I love my in laws and can see all the benefits of having them in my home, including their closeness with our daughter, but man do I hate sharing my kitchen.

Whatever you decide, my suggestion is to not half ass it. Get them their own living and cooking/eating space. The divided duplex mentioned upthread with the connecting door sounds ideal to me.
Pacman
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by Pacman »

You can rent office space at a shared collaboration space for cheap or get your own office somewhere nearby. I did this for a time period as it was cheaper than buying another home or upgrading your current home.
dbr
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by dbr »

If you have a LOT of money, then 6. A fallback is 3, but the space would be for you to move into. A possible variation on 6 is an addition to your house or in rare cases where it is permitted a "carriage house" meaning a separate building on the lot for the in-laws.

It does not sound like the in-laws want very much to be moved out or semi-isolated and your wife is not on your side. That is probably understandable but leaves you as odd man out. These are your wife's parents and they have gained a son rather than lost a daughter. You may be stuck with your filial duties as intolerable as they may be.
texasdiver
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by texasdiver »

If you are in a suburban area with a lot of new construction then I think you'll find that the big builders are doing a lot of multi-generational housing these days. Some very nice designs with dual entrances, living spaces, and kitchens that are very well thought out. When my wife and I were home shopping in a new city last year we toured some quite nice Lennar and DR Horton subdivisions that had those kinds of homes.

If you are in an older area without much new construction then you'll probably need to go the custom home route or do a serious remodel if that is possible.

I don't know your family dynamics. My wife is also from a foreign country. Her parents are elderly but very upper class and independent. They travel all over the world and bounce around Paris and London. That sort of thing. So when they visit us it is mostly just to see the grand kids. My Father in Law would never stoop to living with us. Would be beneath his dignity. But if he goes first I could see my mother in law moving in, mostly to be near the grand kids. So we did buy a house with a ground floor guest suite with that possible future in mind. But we didn't go the whole way into a multi-generational type of house, mostly because we preferred existing construction in an established neighborhood on a nice greenbelt lot.
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wander
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by wander »

#4 sounds good. Living in basement is not healthy. You mentioned about the baby sitting part, that benefits a lot since you guys can go out or take vacation trip any time you want knowing your kid is being taken good care for free.
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djpeteski
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by djpeteski »

Hug401k wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:39 pm How about a big man cave in the basement, complete with TV/bar/fridge/Hobby, so you have a place to hide out when needed? Spring for extra sound insulation. I think maybe it's too many people in one space for your comfort, but a get away place might be what you need more than an extra kitchen. Maybe add an office area down there too?
I like this solution a lot, very creative. There is probably the lowest cost option of all and the OP GETS A MAN CAVE! Sorry for shouting, but I love my humble man cave.
DarthSage
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by DarthSage »

Hug401k wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:39 pm My first thought would be to approach it differently. Instead of you not wanting to listen to kitchen noise from your living room, is there somewhere else you could go?

How about a big man cave in the basement, complete with TV/bar/fridge/Hobby, so you have a place to hide out when needed? Spring for extra sound insulation. I think maybe it's too many people in one space for your comfort, but a get away place might be what you need more than an extra kitchen. Maybe add an office area down there too?

Maybe you could give up some space near their bedroom for a kitchenette. Are they making 3 course meals or just making a cup of coffee? A small fridge, a toaster oven, a sink, a coffee maker?

Finally, I think I would price out adding an in-law suite. Seems like realtor fees alone might pay for 1/2 that.

Good luck!
I like these suggestions. Once you have a little more space, you might feel better about having the ILs in your home. Additionally, you can casually check for a house that would meet all your criteria--right school district, in-law suite, aging in place, and so forth. If you can come up with a bridge solution in the short term, you buy yourself time to get to the optimal solution, which to me would be an attached in-law suite type of set-up.
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by tibbitts »

wander wrote: Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:45 am #4 sounds good. Living in basement is not healthy. You mentioned about the baby sitting part, that benefits a lot since you guys can go out or take vacation trip any time you want knowing your kid is being taken good care for free.
Being able to go away depends on the ILs being able to converse well enough in a sufficiently popular language for their area, and the OP doesn't specify that. I would have said English, but there are parts of the U.S. where I imagine you can get by with other languages (and where English might not even be your first choice.)
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Watty
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by Watty »

One more thing to keep in mind is that the dynamics will change as your kid gets older. With a six year old you likely only have 12 years until the kid will head off to college by the time the kid is in his or her teens the childcare will be needed a lot less.

It could take the better part of two years to do the research and have a custom built home constructed so that would only be real useful for setting the situation up as your in laws age.
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Re: housing for in-laws

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stan1
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by stan1 »

This sounds like a serious concern and I think you should do something that keeps everyone happy including you. A sound insulated room for you in the basement sounds like the cheapest and fastest answer especially if you could put a bathroom downstairs. Maybe with a space for your daughter to play games, also, if you don't want to be separated from her all the time. If you like their cooking but odors are lingering in the kitchen look into an improved ventilation system. You might also get some of it back on resale if you do it nicely.

Moving to an existing house requires finding the right house in the right neighborhood and then possibly some remodeling or an addition. It sounds like the inlaws should be on the main floor as they age in place. With this option you'd have to look and be prepared to move quickly when the right opportunity arises. You'd need to be able to visualize what you could make the space into not just what it looks like right now.

Building a custom home can be close to a full time job for two or more years. The advantage is you can get whatever you want but it takes time and money. The more custom the more personal involvement you'll need to put in. First you'd need to find a lot that works for you (commute time, neighborhood). If you live in an urban area a long commute could have a major impact on quality of life or a teardown could be very expensive.
pangea33
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by pangea33 »

letsgobobby wrote: Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:13 am man cave is cheaper than a new house.
I'd build a tiny house as an "office" hideout. Wouldn't be able to hear them in the kitchen on their loudest days.
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Re: housing for in-laws

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zinders
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by zinders »

We bought a house with an in-law suite to prepare for the day that my snowbird parents might need a place in the north near us. We had a tenant in it for the past few years until they made up their mind on their options. Now that they've sold their northern place, they will be living in the space during the summer and holidays, and going back and forth until they are unable to do so (at which point, we'll regroup, but it's likely they would be up here near us full time). It's a completely separate apartment with its own kitchen and laundry, and we've never had issues with our tenant these past few years.

Homes like this are available. If you know for sure that her parents will be with you for the long haul, it's worth considering. Family is family, and while it's all fine and well to think "throw them out," that's really not a viable solution. Plus it's lovely for your kids to be so close to their grandparents. While I'm sure there will be hassles having my parents downstairs instead of a tenant, my friends who have already lost their parents tell me that I won't regret it.
gotester2000
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by gotester2000 »

Either you put up with them(I sympathize with you as it is very difficult to do so - because only you would not be happy with the current arrangement while the rest of family and extended family will be happy) or I would suggest to get them a small condo in the neighborhood. (Eastern cultures are tightly knit with three generations regularly living together with lesser problems of child and old age care. Even so, generally girl's parents do not live with her. But the world is rapidly changing and cultures are inter mingling.)
stoptothink
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Re: housing for in-laws

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London wrote: Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:00 pm My inlaws live with us but I didn't agree to it until I found the perfect setup. They have their own separate kitchen, living room, entrance, etc and it has worked out fine. There is only one door that connects the main living space and we generally leave it close (and knock if we want to see each other). I have young kids and they have benefited from having the grand parents close. I rarely see them during the week and it's gone better than I had hoped.

There have been a few issues which were to be expected. My FIL had to get used to not being "the man of the house". I don't seek his input on any decisions and he had to get used to that. Otherwise, as long as they stay out of your relationship and how you raise the kids, it can work. But it's all about the setup.
My in-laws are moving back in with us, and have lived with us on-and-off over the past 2yrs. I am actually OK with it and there are no separate living spaces. It clearly makes them uncomfortable though, but they don't have a whole lot of other options with their financial situation. What does bother me is that they do not contribute a penny (and household costs are dramatically higher when they have lived with us) and my MIL has flat-out refused to even help watch our kids (we are a dual-career family, my wife is also a full-time student, and with two young ones) - no two ways about it, they are a significant financial burden on us. They are quite pleasant and I do enjoy their company, but they are probably the most financially irresponsible and selfish people I have ever met.
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HueyLD
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by HueyLD »

In my neighborhood, the most popular new homes built in the last few years are those with an in-law suite. In other words, there is a one bed room apartment with its own garage, bedroom, living room, kitchen and laundry room. And there are separate entries to the apartment and the main part of the house.

There is a door and a common wall between the house and the apartment and each side can lock the door.

AFAIK, it works well for those who want their parents nearby.
stoptothink
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by stoptothink »

HueyLD wrote: Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:34 am In my neighborhood, the most popular new homes built in the last few years are those with an in-law suite. In other words, there is a one bed room apartment with its own garage, bedroom, living room, kitchen and laundry room. And there are separate entries to the apartment and the main part of the house.

There is a door and a common wall between the house and the apartment and each side can lock the door.

AFAIK, it works well for those who want their parents nearby.
Before buying our home 2yrs ago, we talked about this countless times with our in-laws: buying a home that had a MIL apartment in the basement. They shot it down every time, saying they wanted their freedom and had no interest in living with us. So, we went ahead and bought what we wanted, a 3brd/2bt townhome with no basement. Of course, they have now lived with us off-and-on since, and probably permanently from now, and they (not us) are uncomfortable with not having their privacy. Can you tell I am a bit bitter about the situation?
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HueyLD
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by HueyLD »

Stoptothink,

You have my sympathy.
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lthenderson
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by lthenderson »

HueyLD wrote: Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:34 am In my neighborhood, the most popular new homes built in the last few years are those with an in-law suite. In other words, there is a one bed room apartment with its own garage, bedroom, living room, kitchen and laundry room. And there are separate entries to the apartment and the main part of the house.

There is a door and a common wall between the house and the apartment and each side can lock the door.
In my case, the cultural differences dictate that they want to be part of the family at all times and not separated by walls and doors. The basement suite (with an open staircase) provides the best compromise between their privacy and being able to hear and join us without having to go through a door. It is also nice so when the in-law is gone, it can easily be reconfigured versus ending up with another house attached to your house with no real value to the main family other than renting it out.
Katietsu
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by Katietsu »

I would get a real estate agent involved and try to look at as many as possible pre existing homes that might offer a solution. You might get lucky and find something that works. And, at worst, you can see a lot of ideas first hand.

One neighborhood I have previously lived in was populated with duplexes. These were built with one side as an owners suite and the other meant for a tenant. These worked well for multi generational living.

Do you think you would be OK with sharing a kitchen if the kitchen were not so central and open to the rest of the home? We once considred a home with bedroom/sitting room/Bath at one end of the house a kitchen sort of isolated in the middle and the rest of the living spaces on the other end. We were interested in it specifically because we felt it would be easy to have family living with us.
Hockey10
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by Hockey10 »

Go for the Man Cave, or at the very least a good set of noise cancelling headphones.

My MIL lived with us for 9 years, and she did not speak English. In our case, she was a huge help around the house especially with watching the kids and working in the kitchen. We converted our first floor living room into her bedroom suite with a full bath and closet. Her time in the kitchen was not a problem, but a positive addition to our family. She passed many years ago, and I still miss her to this day. :(
texasdiver
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by texasdiver »

pangea33 wrote: Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:17 am
letsgobobby wrote: Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:13 am man cave is cheaper than a new house.
I'd build a tiny house as an "office" hideout. Wouldn't be able to hear them in the kitchen on their loudest days.
Here's a guy who did that sort of thing. Fascinating web site and blog also:

https://granolashotgun.com/2017/06/14/the-bitter-suite/
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jwhitaker
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by jwhitaker »

Thank you all for the thoughtful responses. I have read and reread them all. To clarify, they have been with us on and off since my kid was born, so this is more like year 5. This is just the longest continuous stretch and why I have hit my limit. Yes they are preparing large meals, and the sharing of the kitchen, even with complete silence, would still be a problem. Our lot is small, we can't do tiny houses, mobile homes or probably any additions.

Some of you have astutely sensed that this is a little bit more than a practical or money issue, but a marriage and lifestyle issue. I almost wish I was broke or frugal enough to go for the mancave solution (which is a good idea), but you only get to live one life, you only get to raise your kids once. I do not intend to spend my life hiding in the basement, wearing noise cancelling headphones, microwaving my Marie Calendar's dinner. Honestly we know people in the same situation who do #3 (separate condo), I think the resistance is just based on them thinking it is too expensive, but the alternatives are no cheaper (full cost, including my sanity).
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dm200
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by dm200 »

jwhitaker wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:00 am Thank you all for the thoughtful responses. I have read and reread them all. To clarify, they have been with us on and off since my kid was born, so this is more like year 5. This is just the longest continuous stretch and why I have hit my limit. Yes they are preparing large meals, and the sharing of the kitchen, even with complete silence, would still be a problem. Our lot is small, we can't do tiny houses, mobile homes or probably any additions.
Some of you have astutely sensed that this is a little bit more than a practical or money issue, but a marriage and lifestyle issue. I almost wish I was broke or frugal enough to go for the mancave solution (which is a good idea), but you only get to live one life, you only get to raise your kids once. I do not intend to spend my life hiding in the basement, wearing noise cancelling headphones, microwaving my Marie Calendar's dinner. Honestly we know people in the same situation who do #3 (separate condo), I think the resistance is just based on them thinking it is too expensive, but the alternatives are no cheaper (full cost, including my sanity).
I wish you well ...
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lthenderson
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by lthenderson »

jwhitaker wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:00 am Thank you all for the thoughtful responses. I have read and reread them all. To clarify, they have been with us on and off since my kid was born, so this is more like year 5. This is just the longest continuous stretch and why I have hit my limit. Yes they are preparing large meals, and the sharing of the kitchen, even with complete silence, would still be a problem. Our lot is small, we can't do tiny houses, mobile homes or probably any additions.

Some of you have astutely sensed that this is a little bit more than a practical or money issue, but a marriage and lifestyle issue. I almost wish I was broke or frugal enough to go for the mancave solution (which is a good idea), but you only get to live one life, you only get to raise your kids once. I do not intend to spend my life hiding in the basement, wearing noise cancelling headphones, microwaving my Marie Calendar's dinner. Honestly we know people in the same situation who do #3 (separate condo), I think the resistance is just based on them thinking it is too expensive, but the alternatives are no cheaper (full cost, including my sanity).
Too late for you and I but I have often wished someone wrote a manual for marrying someone from another culture. Chapter one would explain that you aren't just marrying them but their entire family and all that it entails. Having live-in in-laws would certainly take up a lot of that chapter. It would certainly take some of the surprises away that I have discovered over the years that I've been married. In my case I don't think it would have changed my decision but for others I know in our position, it would have saved a lot of heartache.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
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dm200
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by dm200 »

Too late for you and I but I have often wished someone wrote a manual for marrying someone from another culture. Chapter one would explain that you aren't just marrying them but their entire family and all that it entails. Having live-in in-laws would certainly take up a lot of that chapter. It would certainly take some of the surprises away that I have discovered over the years that I've been married. In my case I don't think it would have changed my decision but for others I know in our position, it would have saved a lot of heartache.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
My wife is from the same custure and, before her death, my MIL talked about moving in or near. I would have gone crazy!!!

Different "cultures" can go in both directions - especially if you enjoy the food of that culture. :)
denovo
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by denovo »

jwhitaker wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:00 am Thank you all for the thoughtful responses. I have read and reread them all. To clarify, they have been with us on and off since my kid was born, so this is more like year 5. This is just the longest continuous stretch and why I have hit my limit. Yes they are preparing large meals, and the sharing of the kitchen, even with complete silence, would still be a problem. Our lot is small, we can't do tiny houses, mobile homes or probably any additions.

Some of you have astutely sensed that this is a little bit more than a practical or money issue, but a marriage and lifestyle issue. I almost wish I was broke or frugal enough to go for the mancave solution (which is a good idea), but you only get to live one life, you only get to raise your kids once. I do not intend to spend my life hiding in the basement, wearing noise cancelling headphones, microwaving my Marie Calendar's dinner. Honestly we know people in the same situation who do #3 (separate condo), I think the resistance is just based on them thinking it is too expensive, but the alternatives are no cheaper (full cost, including my sanity).
I guess this comment is more for future Bogleheads that wish to get married, but the time to have had this conversation is before marriage since presumably this type of set up is common in OP's wife's culture.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln
WhiteMaxima
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by WhiteMaxima »

live together is no no. Why don't rent an apt near by for the in-laws?
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Pajamas
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by Pajamas »

Sounds like your house isn't suited for two-family living or for one extended family to achieve sufficient separation and privacy. Your in-laws don't want to be relegated to the basement, and asking them to live in even a nearby place might offend them, unless you think they would prefer to have their own place.

I came close to being in a similar situation many years ago and the solution we decided on (but never had to implement) was a duplex with a shared entryway to provide flexibility. People from countries where extended families usually live together easily see the differences in U.S. culture and should be willing to compromise to accommodate them. Be aware that they may also notice other related differences that might worry them, such as the ubiquity of nursing homes.
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dm200
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by dm200 »

In my local jurisdiction, there is a loosening of "accessory dwelling units" in (originally) single family houses in single family zoned areas. In the same "house" I suspect relatives may not be an issue - but check when either modifying an existing house or buying one.
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dm200
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by dm200 »

I came close to being in a similar situation many years ago and the solution we decided on (but never had to implement) was a duplex with a shared entryway to provide flexibility.
These, where available and within zoning, etc., can be a good solution.
Pigeon
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by Pigeon »

I'd talk to a realtor. In my suburban neighborhood, there is an occasional house with an in-law apartment. If you start looking, you might find one that suits without needing the extremes of building a new custom house.
Pluto9th
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by Pluto9th »

jwhitaker wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:00 am .... so this is more like year 5. This is just the longest continuous stretch and why I have hit my limit.
.... Honestly we know people in the same situation who do #3 (separate condo), I think the resistance is just based on them thinking it is too expensive, but the alternatives are no cheaper (full cost, including my sanity).
How would you feel about living like this for the next 20-30 years, or more? Sure they might be saints but I can't think of any saint I'd like to share my home with, involuntarily. Go for #3 (preferably a place that is wheelchair-friendly or can be made so relatively easily), and do it soon, when everyone is still healthy. It would become much harder to get the in-laws to move out when one of them develops a health problem.
Onion
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Re: housing for in-laws

Post by Onion »

jwhitaker wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:00 am Some of you have astutely sensed that this is a little bit more than a practical or money issue, but a marriage and lifestyle issue. I almost wish I was broke or frugal enough to go for the mancave solution (which is a good idea), but you only get to live one life, you only get to raise your kids once. I do not intend to spend my life hiding in the basement, wearing noise cancelling headphones, microwaving my Marie Calendar's dinner. Honestly we know people in the same situation who do #3 (separate condo), I think the resistance is just based on them thinking it is too expensive, but the alternatives are no cheaper (full cost, including my sanity).
Make a change. Figure out what makes sense for your family and do it.

I have/had my own parent living with my family and I recently forced a change. I started to experience anxiety and when I started to have more bad days than good, I realized I didn't and shouldn't have to live that way, nor should my family. Now, my spouse and I are on the same page and my parent didn't contribute in any real way (in fact, my spouse and I often joked that we had another child). Regardless, we are all happy with the change.
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