Accessory Dwelling Units: What Are They and Why Do You Need One?

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) can add extra living space to your property. Dive into this in-depth guide to learn more about ADUs!

A study of transactions in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) revealed that there are about 1.4 million ADUs in the US. Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, have been all the rage for quite some time. These secondary housing units go by many names, including granny flats, backyard cottages, and secondary units, to name a few.

Homeowners across the country are warming up to accessory dwelling units, and for the right reasons. These secondary housing units are an affordable and efficient way of adding extra housing to your home. If you’ve been looking to build a granny flat but know nothing about ADUs, we’re here to help.

In today’s post, we’ll be looking at everything you need to know about ADUs and why you should prioritize building one.

What Are Accessory Dwelling Units?

As mentioned above, accessory dwelling units are a type of secondary housing in a single-family residential space. These housing units are self-contained, meaning they have their own entrances, baths, kitchens, and living space. They’re, however, much smaller and are normally detached from the main house.

The concept of ADUs can be traced back to carriage houses that were popular in the mid to late 1800s. It’s worth noting that ADUs aren’t tiny homes, although they’re quite similar. Tiny homes tend to be a lot smaller than ADUs and have a lower ROI.

ADUs are soaring in popularity, and the new year presents the perfect opportunity to add an ADU to your home. There are many types of ADUs to choose from, depending on your preference and ADU design.

These are the most common types of ADUs.

Basement ADUs

As the name implies, basement ADUs are a type of ADU found in the basements of residential homes. They’re different from refinished basements because refinished basements don’t have a bath and kitchen.

Refinished basements are one of the most affordable ADU options. However, in cases where head height is low, you might have to dig down to the existing floor. This will make the project a lot more expensive. If not, you don’t have to worry about spending too much on your basement ADU.

One tiny issue with basement ADUs is the lack of natural light. If this is a major concern to you, you might want to consider lifting the house. That way, you can raise the basement height and install large windows that can let in enough natural light.

Detached New Construction ADUs

Detached new construction ADUs, or backyard cottage ADUs, are one of the most popular types of ADUs in the country. As the name suggests, this ADU is detached from the main house and exists as a separate unit. It’s a type of stand-alone ADU, complete with its own swerve, water, and electrical systems. 

Some people choose to cordon off their backyard cottage ADUs for better privacy, but doing so isn’t mandatory. Some restrictions might limit the construction of two-story ADUs, so it’s important to check your local ADU regulations before making such plans. However, you can build this type of ADU along the lot line to have increased flexibility.

Attached ADU

You can think of an attached ADU as the opposite of a backyard cottage ADU. Unlike the latter, these ADUs are attached to the primary house. Alternatively, it can be a large space inside your home, like your attic, that you can convert into an ADU.

Just like basement ADUs, attached ADUs are pretty affordable and are great for homeowners on a budget

Remember, since it’s an ADU, it must have a separate entrance from the main home; otherwise, you’ll just have an extra bathroom and kitchen in your home. However, you can have one main door that branches into two separate entrances; one for the main house and the other for the ADU.

These ADUs need fire and sound separation from the main housing units. They’re great for smaller lots, where there’s not enough space for a separate housing unit. It’s also more cost-effective than a detached ADU.

ADU With a Garage Below It

For this type of ADU, homeowners build the ADU above their two-car garage. This makes a lot of sense, given the amount of space above garages. If you need extra space, you can always cantilever beyond the garage and get that space.

Why Do You Need an ADU?

It’s normal to be on the fence about building an ADU. However, with so many benefits, building one should top your to-do list. Here are a few reasons why you need an ADU.

Extra Living Space

The first reason why you should build an ADU is to have extra living space for your friends and family when they visit. Sharing a home is fun, but some people might need a little bit of privacy. An ADU will give them just that.

To Increase Your Property’s Value

The right ADU can increase your home’s value by a considerable margin. Your home is one of your biggest investments, so why not make it worthwhile. House buyers are willing to pay top dollar for houses with ADUs.

Rental Unit for Extra Income

You can turn your ADU into a rental unit and earn some income on the side. Rental ADUs have an incredible return on investment. You can rent out your ADU for about $1,500 to $3,500, depending on the type and size of the ADU.

If you do a little sprucing up, you can even charge a higher rent. Given the low cost of ADUs, you’ll quickly recoup your investment.

What’s more, you can start your own little startup company. Use the ADU to coordinate all your activities and even sleep there. Jeff Bezos started Amazon in his garage. It’s time you started your own multi-billion dollar company in your ADU.

Build Your ADU Today!

Start making plans to add one to your home now that you know all about accessory dwelling units. There are tons of options and designs to choose from. Find one that matches your taste.

Request a quote today, so we can start working on your ADU.


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