Accessory Dwelling Units: simplified

Tags: ADU

Accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, are a hot topic in real estate. About 1.4 million properties have ADUs in the U.S. Due to their increased popularity, many people are curious about them but don't know where to start when it comes to building one. In this post, we'll break down everything you need about ADUs and provide tips for those looking to add one to their property. So whether you're just getting started or you're already well on your way, read on for all the info! 

What is an ADU?

An ADU is an accessory dwelling unit. An accessory dwelling unit is a secondary living space on a property that can be used as independent housing. ADUs are often created by converting existing structures, such as garages or basement apartments. However, they can also be built from scratch as new additions to a home. Many jurisdictions have regulations governing the size and amenities of an ADU, and some mandate that the unit be used for family members or as rental income property. Regardless of its use, an ADU provides extra flexibility and convenience for homeowners. 

Types of ADUs?

ADUs come in many shapes and sizes, from cozy in-law units to large detached guesthouses. Today, more and more homeowners are considering adding an ADU to their property. 

There are three main types of ADUs: attached, detached, and converted

  • Attached ADUs are typically located within the home's existing footprint, such as in an unused attic or basement.

  •  Detached ADUs are stand-alone structures, such as a guest house or garage apartments. 

  • Converted ADUs are created by converting an existing structure into a livable space, such as a guest house, shed, or garage.

All types of ADUs must meet all local zoning requirements and must be up to code. In some cases, a permit may be required to build an ADU. Each type of ADU has its benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

Why do cities care about ADUs?

As cities continue to grow, elected officials and planning departments are searching for ways to create more efficient and sustainable communities. One way to do this is by encouraging the development of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs.

There are many reasons why cities care about ADU development. For one, ADUs can provide much-needed housing diversity within a neighborhood. They can also help increase an area's density without changing its character. Additionally, ADUs can provide additional income for homeowners and generate new tax revenue for the city.

ADUs are typically much less expensive to build than a conventional addition. They can be built quickly and with minimal disruption to the existing home. Finally, ADUs offer increased flexibility in terms of design and layout. As a result, they are an ideal solution for homeowners who want to add extra living space without breaking the bank.

Cities where ADUs are taking hold

In recent years, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) have been gaining popularity to increase density in urban areas. Several cities have enacted policies to encourage the development of ADUs, and the results are starting to show. In Portland, Oregon, for example, the number of ADUs has tripled since 2010. The city has streamlined the permitting process and offered financial incentives to encourage homeowners to build ADUs. As a result, Portland now has one of the highest densities of ADUs in the country. Portland has roughly 2900 completed ADUs.  Other cities that have seen a boom in ADU construction include Austin, Texas; Seattle, Washington; and Boulder, Colorado. 

ADUs are also becoming popular in California. In 2019, about 14,702 permits were issued in California. With more and more people moving to urban areas, it's clear that ADUs are here to stay.

Cost of building an ADU

Building an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) can be a great way to add value to your property and provide extra income, but it's essential to be aware of the costs involved before you get started. The construction cost will depend on the size and complexity of the ADU, but it's typically somewhere between $250-450 per square foot. Additionally, you'll need to factor in the cost of permits, which can vary depending on your municipality. Once you've completed the construction, there are also ongoing costs to consider, such as utilities, insurance, and property taxes. While an ADU can be a great investment, it's essential to research and understand the costs before you start.

The bottom line

If you’re considering adding an ADU to your property, it’s important to research and consult with a qualified professional at Casandral before moving forward. With careful planning and execution, an ADU can greatly add value to your home while meeting your changing needs.

FAQs about ADUs

Do I need to have a permit to build an ADU?

Before you start construction, it's essential to check with your local planning/zoning ordinances to see if you need a permit. In most cases, you will need some type of permit, and failure to obtain one could result in hefty fines. The good news is that the permitting process is usually relatively straightforward, and as long as you have all the required paperwork in order, you should get your permit with minimal hassle. 

Are ADUs a good investment?

There are many reasons why ADUs make a significant investment. For one, they can significantly increase the value of your property. In addition, they can provide you with rental income, which can help to offset the mortgage or other costs associated with owning a home. Since ADUs are usually located on already-developed properties, they often don't require the same level of investment as a new construction project. As a result, they offer a unique opportunity to generate income without incurring many risks.

Does an ADUs increase the value of the house?

The short answer is yes; an ADU will usually add to the house's value. According to a study, ADUs are more likely to add 35% to the home’s value.

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