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FAQ

We have given you a lot of information, but building a new building and/or combining households is a big decision.  We have pulled the information from our clients and focus groups to create a list of  questions you may have.

If you have more, we are just a phone call away!

Questions about Purchasing, Permits and Construction

How much space do you need for an Inspired Home or In-Law™ Cottage?
The best way to determine this is to contact your local Zoning Department to determine the setbacks — or we can help you with this. Just call 510-444-9788 ext 2.

In general, the Inspired Homes are designed for a lot that is 70’ wide. The Inspired In-Law Cottage has been developed to fit on your average urban lot, typically .20 acres or 8,700 sq. ft. can accommodate the free-standing dwelling of your choice. We have designed the various shaped plans so that you can find one to fit with your setbacks!

Are foundations required? If so, what are the options?
A foundation is required for these permanent structures.  If you have a level yard we recommend a slab on grade foundation; if it has some sloped, we recommend building a perimeter stem wall.  An engineer will be involved once we begin to make sure we have the right solution for your condition and to determine the local building requirements.

Do you need to get a building permit?
Yes. The Inspired Homes will need to go through Planning and Building Department approval.  Depending on your area, you may be required to go through a Design Review.   The Inspired In-Law™ Cottages are becoming more and more popular with Planning Departments since they lower the demand on the city and help provide affordable housing.  Often, the approval for the Planning Department is done over the counter with just one simple visit.  A building permit is then filed which typically takes 1-2 months to process.  We help you complete the permit package you need to submit for permit.

What’s the lead/construction time?
The Inspired In-Law™ units can typically be produced and installed within 3 months of your permit being issued.  The Inspired Homes take 6-9 months to complete after your permit is issued.

What if I want to build this myself?
If you are a do-it-yourselfer or have a local builder you would rather use, you can simply call us to purchase the plans, then build the units yourself.  Since the designs are already completed, you can have the drawings within 7-10 days.

Questions about Factory Construction and Our Panels

What are the benefits of factory construction for the Inspired Homes and In-Law™ Cottages?
There are numerous benefits to building panelized elements in a factory including:

  • Simplifies the construction, impact on your life, supervision, insurance, and reduces exposure to theft and vandalism.
  • Creates stronger buildings; engineered and stamped by a licensed Structural Engineer.
  • Provides very detailed and accurate estimates for construction and the entire project.
  • Provides fast project completion, allowing the walls and roofs to be built at the same time as the foundation and site work.
  • Enables high quality craftsmanship in a controlled indoor building environment, shielding the   home from the outdoor elements that can slow traditional construction.
  • Keeps the construction zone out of your home.
  • Creates a sustainable solution that’s more efficient, minimizes waste and lowers your carbon footprint by 60%.

Is building with steel and EPS less expensive than wood framing?

Our EPS and steel panels are typically the same or a little more expensive than wood framing.  When building there are two different costs to think about – the initial cost and the life cycle cost.  The initial cost is what is coming out of your pocket for the construction, while the life cycle cost is the one on which we put more importance on.  This is the long-term cost of how much energy it will take to run this building every month, the maintenance and the impact environmentally on the Earth.  The EPS and steel panels give us a product that is rot and pest resistant, which wood is not, meaning you won’t have to repair or replace later.  It is also such an energy efficient shell that the monthly heating and cooling cost will be minimal, which is great if you are on a fixed income.  Since we are working with multiple generations, we want to ensure that we build responsibly and leave a great future for the generations to come.

Questions about Aging-in-Place and Multi-Generational Living

When deciding to live multi-generationally, it is important to understand the concerns of the various generations.  We have tried to outline those issues and define other aspects of Aging-in-Place.

What are the concerns of adult children?
Adult children are worried about:

  • The cost of long-term care for their parents.
  • Their parents’ safety when living alone and having an accident.
  • Elder abuse.
  • Finding quality caregivers.
  • Spending more time with their parents.
  • Caring for both their children and their parents (the sandwich generation).
  • Concerned about home maintenance and upkeep.

What are the concerns of seniors?

Seniors are worried about:

  • Living longer on a fixed income.
  • Becoming a burden on their children.
  • Maintaining their independence.
  • Maintaining their lifestyle.
  • Wanting to leave a legacy as an inheritance.
  • Facing a change physically that affects their independence.
  • Dealing with the upkeep of a large home.
  • Staying connected to a residential community, rather than a nursing home with ailing people.
  • Recognizing they need support from their children and wanting a workable solution for all.
  • Being active grandparents.

What does “Aging in Place” mean?
Aging in Place or Age-In-Place means that seniors want to remain at home and maintain their independent lifestyles as long as possible. As Certified Age-In-Place Specialists, we have a goal to create a barrier-free environment for our clients, allowing them to live as effortlessly as possible while aging at home. The one-bedroom Inspired In-Law Cottage has been designed for older parents to live close to their families without feeling like they have moved into their children’s lives.

What features does Aging in Place offer?
Aging in Place provides:

  • A safe environment that physically and emotionally supports your parents or loved ones as they age in close proximity to their family.
  • Unique designs to stimulate senior independence and provide safety.
  • A beautiful living space to support peace of mind for the whole family.
  • Zero step entrances, day lighting, wide hallways, curbless showers, roll-under sinks, pull-out storage, pull-down storage and technology specifically for seniors

What are the benefits of multi-generational living?

Since 1990, the number of multi-generational families has grown by 60%. The Inspired In-Law™ Cottage is a free-standing permanent dwelling that allows multiple generations to live on the same property, creates separate entries and living spaces, maintains everyone’s privacy, enables peace of mind, pools your family’s resources, and promotes independent living. The proximity allows families to support each other, whether senior care is being given by an adult child or you’re a grandparent assisting with childcare for grand kids.

What are some statistics about Baby Boomers and housing?

  • In the last 12 months, an estimated 65.7 million people in the U.S. have served as unpaid family caregivers to an adult or a child.
  • A large majority (86%) of caregivers provide care for a relative, with over one-third taking care of a parent (36%).
  • The number of families turning to multi-generational housing has increased to over 6 million homes since 1990, an increase of 60%.
  • Major developers are catering to 3-generational housing –– 70% of buyers purchase a granny flat that costs as much as $100,000 or more.
  • When surveyed about aging, seniors rated the loss of independence (26%) and having to move into a nursing home (13%) as their greatest fears.
  • 89% of Baby Boomers want to age in place, resulting in a total potential market of 70 million people.
  • 1 in 7 Baby Boomers is caring for an aging parent.
  • Nearly a quarter of Baby Boomers expect their parents or in-laws to move in with them – and half anticipate that living arrangement are excited about it. (AARP)
  • 10 million seniors live alone.
  • 25% of families care for someone outside the home, so they must fly across the country –or drive across town while trying to raise their kids.
  • 79% of the people receiving care are 50+.
  • The average cost of care giving in the U.S. is $60 billion per year.
  • 25% of seniors have lost their partner.

Questions About the Finances?

What are the costs of nursing homes and senior care vs. the Inspired In-Law™ Cottage?
A summary of national findings from the 2012 MetLife market survey of nursing home, assisted living, adult day services and home care costs vs. an Inspired In-Law Cottage, which costs a one-time fee of $150,000 – $175,000, depending on the model and features selected.

Nursing Homes
– Semi-Private Room – $222 per day – $81,030 annually
– Private Room – $248 per day – $90,520 annually
– Highest Rate – AK $687 semi-private and $678 private – averaged at $250,755 annually

Assisted Living Communities
– $3,550 monthly – $42,600 annually
– Highest Rate – DC Washington $5,933 monthly – $71,196

– Lowest Rate – AR – $2,355 monthly – $28,260

This doesn’t include any special care like dementia.

If I develop this as a rental unit what can I expect?

  • Area rent $1400 per month (will vary per location)
  • Minus monthly financing of $150,000 = $694.67 (this is financing the entire amount)
  • Monthly profit of $705.33
  • Annual profit of $8,463.96

What financing options are out there for us? This is not our area of expertise but we will share with you what our other clients have done:

  • If your existing mortgage is higher; a home improvement loan will loan up to 80% of the value of your home.  Bank of the West is the leading bank in this arena currently.
  • If you have a small mortgage with a rate higher than 3.75%, you can refinance and pull out the money for construction. This option has the least amount of strings attached to the money.
  • If you are combining household, you can take the income from the sale of one house and use that to build an Inspired In-law.  That way you can leave your inheritance, in the form of an addition, to your children without tax liabilities.
  • Apply for a traditional construction loan.