Accessory Dwelling Units 101 – Everything You Need to Know about ADUs

Tags: ADU

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a secondary living space on your property that can be used as a rental unit, home office, in-law suite, or even just extra storage space. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of homeowners adding ADUs to their properties as a way to generate additional income or simply create more space. Whether you're considering adding an ADU to your property or you're just curious about what they are, here's everything you need to know about accessory dwelling units.

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

An accessory dwelling unit is defined as a "self-contained living space within or attached to a single-family home." In other words, it's a secondary living space on your property that can be used for a variety of purposes. Common uses for ADUs include rental units, home offices, in-law suites, and extra storage space.

ADUs come in all shapes and sizes, from converted garages to detached structures built from scratch. They can be as small as 200 square feet or as large as 1,000 square feet. The size and type of ADU you can build will depend on the zoning regulations in your area.

Benefits of Adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit to Your Property

There are many reasons why homeowners are choosing to add ADUs to their properties. Here are some of the most common benefits:

Generate Additional Income - Renting out an ADU is a great way to generate additional income. The amount of money you can charge will depend on the location, size, and amenities of your unit.

Create More Space - If your family is outgrowing your current home but you don't want to move, adding an ADU is a great way to create more space without having to leave your current residence.

Provide Housing for Family Members - An ADU can provide a private living space for elderly parents or adult children who don't want to live independently but don't want to live under the same roof.

Increase the Value of Your Property - Adding an ADU to your property can increase its resale value by 10-20%.

Things to Consider Before Adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit Although there are many benefits to adding an ADU to your property, there are also some things you should consider before taking on such a project:

Zoning Regulations - One of the first things you'll need to do is check with your local zoning office to see if building an ADU is even allowed in your area. There may be restrictions on the size and type of unit you can build.

Permits and Approvals - Once you've determined that building an ADU is allowed in your area, you'll need to obtain the necessary permits and approvals from your city or town before beginning construction. This process can take several months (or even longer), so be sure to factor that into your timeline.

Financing - Building an ADU can be expensive, so you'll need to explore all financing options before getting started. You may be able to finance your project with a home equity loan or line of credit, but other options include personal loans and government grants (if available).

Increased Utility Costs - Keep in mind that adding an ADU will likely increase your monthly utility costs (e.g., electricity, water, gas). Be sure to factor this into your budget when deciding whether or not building an ADU makes financial sense for you.

Accessory dwelling units offer many benefits for homeowners who are looking for additional income, more space, or housing for family members. However, there are also some things you should consider before embarking on such a project, such as zoning regulations, permits and approvals, financing options, and increased utility costs. If you're thinking about adding an ADU to your property, be sure do your research beforehand so that you know what's involved and what's required in order stay compliant with all regulations.

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