Inlaw unit? Yes or no?

We have a big lot 11,500 sq ft lot in Cupertino. We are thinking of building an inlaw unit, so that we can get some constant income that will at least cover the property taxes that we pay for the rest of our life.

  1. Will inlaw unit depreciate the value of a SFH when we want to sell later?
  2. We can build either attached or detached. What would you prefer?
  3. Will the electric panel and water heaters be shared or separate?
  4. What would be the extra fees apart from construction costs,?
    a) PG&E?
    b) Permit fees,
    c) school fees
    d) park fees
    c) Bringing a separate water pipe and sewer pipe into the inlaw unit. Is this needed for attached/detached inlaw unit?
    d) Bringing a separate electric wire from the pole. Is this needed for attached/detached inlaw unit?
  1. Would you build 1br/1ba, 2br/1ba or 2br/2ba?

Mighty Mist

Why not split the lot into 2 SFR and sell the extra lot? Or build and sell a big SFR?

The house is a cul-de-sac. It is very narrow in the front and widens at the back. It is not an easy split.

An in law unit can be built in a manner that doesn’t decrease the value of your property, but keep in mind it won’t raise the value of your property the way a typical addition would. It can decrease the value of your property if it affects the desirability of the primary residence or if others view it as a structure that needs to be altered or removed.

A large reason for choosing a SFH is for privacy so having an attached inlaw unit that you plan to rent would be a deal breaker.

If you want to maximize rent the 2/2 would bring in the most dollars per unit.

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Opportunity for prefab??? (I have a separate prefab thread if interested)

Prefer double Master bedrooms for in-law. I guess if you intend to rent out the “in-law” unit, you can’t do that.

Thanks for your inputs.

ww13, “An in law unit can be built in a manner that doesn’t decrease the value of your property”.
Can you tell us more?

hanera, "I guess if you intend to rent out the “in-law” unit, you can’t do that."
Isn’t it legal to rent out the in-law unit?

I mean is inconvenient to share the same door to the house, so the rented out in-law unit would have a separate door even if attached.

If your house got classified as a duplex, it may be subject to rent control laws in the future. Also, duplexes have more expensive mortgages I think. Rates are usually higher.

So I guess the best way is to build an in-law without being classified as a duplex. How? I don’t know… :slight_smile:

Two master suites, one of the suites have two doors, one door can be locked from inside and outside the suite plus one that can be entered from outside the house.

From our experience, duplexes need at least 25% down (vs 20%) and are 0.5% higher in terms of rates.

Since you didn’t say it, it sounds like you are ok with facing potential rent control law ramifications. I personally am fine with it. Can’t expect to make money without some issues, right? As long as one is getting market rent, I say why not???

I have found the best type of properties for inlaw building has been corner homes. Why? The thing is, if you are going to be living there with the tenant, honestly, you don’t want to see them every day and vice versa. So if you can build it in a manner that that is possible (the avoidance of meeting) I would highly recommend it. With a corner home an inlaw entrance can be made via the side backyard gate/door so you would never be sharing the front door entrance or the likelihood of seeing each other is minimalized.

Yes, that is the plan. We plan to build an attached inlaw unit at the extreme right end of the property and the inlaw entrance through the backyard gate, that we will never see them. Our windows will never face the inlaw unit, and their windows will never face us. Just like a small townhome on the right corner of my home with a shared wall and private yard.

Cupertino is unlikely to introduce rent control considering its conservative residents. The worries of rent control is overblown. If some day, it wants to implement rent control, you can evict the tenant and tear town the inlaw unit.

Have you seen those properties that are larger for their market that end up sitting on the market the longest and command below average $/sqft values? That’s what can happen when you add an in law or you perform any addition that doesn’t function well. The properties that are unaltered, but well maintained tend to command the highest $/sqft values. Sometimes they can even top the values of well remodeled properties.

The in law unit can decrease your property value if it negatively impacts the curb appeal or privacy of the main residence. If the in law unit can be easily utilized as an office or pool house that would be ideal in the higher priced communities because there is a smaller pool of buyers who want to generate income via an in law unit. Maybe the mindset is changing, but that’s how it has been in the past.

How will the extra unit access parking? Decent car spaces are 10 by 20.

Do they allow 2 kitchens in single family house remodel? I like to develop the downstairs into living space as part of the single family house. But if allowed, would like to add a second kitchen and may rent the downstairs separately. This way, it’s a single family house with no rent control.

I believe in SF proper anyway, a legal or illegal inlaw unit makes the SFH and the inlaw subject to rent control. I learned the hard way…Where you are may be different.

What is a legal in-law unit?

  • Attached or detached
  • Has built-in wardrobe, of course :joy:
  • Has kitchen
  • Has bathroom
  • Has living/family room
  • Minimum size
  • A door to outside

Please enlighten.

I think it really depends on the jurisdiction you are talking about. Here is SF Planning Dept’s info:

We are now just thinking of renting out a bedroom and an attached bath, with private entrance, mini fridge and microwave. Expecting 1k in rent per month.