Grandma and Grandpa under the same roof? New Miami homes carve out separate quarters

By Sarah Moreno

Published on Feb 16, 2024

The modular homes from the ONX Homes company in Homestead include the new trend of dedicating a room with a bathroom and separate entrance, which the family can dedicate to a parent, a single child, or rent out to generate extra income and help with the payment of the house. mortgage. The houses were photographed in June 2023. COURTESY OF ONX

With the cost of homes out of reach for many families, developers in South Florida are now adding annexes to new construction, allowing relatives to live under the same roof.

The extra space comes with a room or two and its own kitchen, much like those-law quarters added to older homes.

The built-in apartments even have their own entrances for elderly parents or single or adult children. In addition to putting relatives under the same roof but in their own space, a house annex also can have another purpose: It can be rented, generating extra income for a family to qualify for a higher mortgage loan.

“Before, people could qualify more easily for a mortgage loan, with less salary, but as interest rates have risen and property prices have also risen, we have had to look for alternative ways to help people become homeowners,” said Gaby Fruch, a real estate agent who considers her mission to help people “understand the process of stopping paying rent and becoming homeowners.”

The best time to buy is now

For some, buying is smart, said Fruch, because rents are rising.

While the median home sales price in Miami-Dade County in January was $519,811, according to Rocket Homes, rent also remains high, reaching up to $2,700 for a one-bedroom apartment, according to Zillow.

Although some buyers have paused on plans to buy, hoping that prices will drop, most real estate experts agree that housing prices in Florida won’t go down in 2024.

Inventory remains low in Southeast Florida and that will lead to prices going up,” Valentina Riquezes, sales manager at Related ISG Realty and head of the Weston office, told el Nuevo Herald. “It is better to pay today’s price with an interest rate that you may consider high and then refinance.”

The Florida market is different from the rest of the country, where there’s been a drop or correction in prices.

“We are having economic and population growth, and everyone needs a home,” said Riquezes, who recommends exploring areas farther away from urban centers where buyers can get better options for the same price.

Annexes or offices to help buyers in Florida

Factory manager Charles Gilbert at ONX Homes, stands inside one of the prefabricated homes under construction at the Alba community in Homestead. The modular homes include the new trend of a room with a bathroom and separate entrance, which the family can dedicate to a parent, a single child, or rent out to generate extra income and help with the payment of the house. mortgage. The houses were photographed in June 2023.

Fruch, who works with the company Realty One Group Evolution in Doral, explains on Instagram how annexes work. Although they have become popular in new developments in Florida, from Orlando to West Kendall and Homestead, they aren’t a recent invention.

Some properties in old neighborhoods in South Florida, including Coral Gables, Miami Springs and Miami Shores, have small secondary houses on a lot. They’re often called in-law quarters, because they were designed to accommodate family or guests.

Now, new or under-construction homes are adding a room with a separate entrance, which can be used by a family member or rented to another person.

The need for a home office, which can be located in an annex or in a room with a separate entrance, became popular during the COVID pandemic.

Fruch said that she has properties for sale with annexes in the Kendall and Richmond West area that list around $800,000, as well as townhouses starting at $450,000.

“The main house has 4 bedrooms with 3 1/2 bathrooms, and the annex, a room with a full bathroom, kitchen and a laundry space, with a separate entrance on the side,” describes Fruch, indicating that the developers began to build this type of home about two years ago, understanding the needs of families. “Real estate can be a way of earning a living,” Fruch said, noting that families supplement their income in neighborhoods where there are no restrictions from a homeowner association.

Co-living trend in Miami

Lidiel Reina Rodriguez and Darian Torres work on prefabricated bathrooms at Onx facilities in Homestead on Thursday, June 1, 2023. Onx builds modular homes that are resistant to hurricanes and water intrusion with unique design features like high ceilings, tall impact-proof windows, and high-end finishes.

Sharing a home, especially an apartment, is common in the Miami area as owners sublet a room or look for a roommate to help them pay the rent or mortgage.

Renting a room in a house in Miami can cost up to $1,200, the same as a one-bedroom apartment used to cost.

“The trend toward co-living is very strong,” Riquezes said. “In Europe it is very strong and now we are seeing it here. There are many well-known developers who are offering this type of product, such as an in-law quarter, which makes it more affordable for a family to buy a house and solve several problems at the same time, like bringing a parent, a child or another relative who can collaborate with the purchase of the property, and live with the family instead of living alone.”

Beyond the annex

The annex joins another alternative that some buyers in Florida are exploring. Instead of buying a single-family house, they prefer to invest in a multifamily one, a duplex or a triplex, which allows them to live in one of the units and rent the others, and with the rental income, cover part of the mortgage payment.

Developers also are converting industrial properties into housing for low- and moderate-income workers.

“Preservation is in fashion; we don’t have to tear houses down,” said Ana Teresa Rodríguez, with ATR Luxury Homes, who has opted to renovate luxury residences in Miami neighborhoods such as Bay Point.