The Ultimate Guide to Accessory Dwelling Units

Is your family growing, or are you simply looking to expand the living space of your home? Would you like to know more about accessory dwelling units?

Believe it or not, building an ADU may not take as long as you think. And it can add value to your home in so many ways.

Here’s what you need to know about extending your home into your property with an ADU.

What Is An ADU?

Accessory dwelling units are known by a number of names, including granny flats and in-law suites. While they are often used to house senior family members, ADUs can be utilized for a number of purposes.

ADUs can come in a number of styles. Detached units, or backyard cottages, are perhaps the best know. ADUs can also be built above or attached to your garage or shed. In some cases, your garage itself may get converted into an outdoor living space.

Occasionally, a “bump-out” ADU may get added onto the side of your house. Or you could create one out of your basement.

Whatever type of ADU you’re planning on building, they all create extra dwelling space that’s outside of the primary housing unit. They are also usually smaller than the average house and developed by builders hired by the homeowners.

Zoning regulations in your area will seriously impact the type and size of your ADU. Before deciding you want to build one, it’s critical to check with your municipality and see what you can get a permit for.

What Are Some Purposes For ADUs?

ADUs are best-known as suites for older family members. If you have an older parent who lives alone and would benefit from a level of independence while still remaining within close proximity to family, an ADU could be a great living situation.

Today’s ADUs include lovely kitchens and gardens, so your loved ones could continue to care for themselves and maintain a bit of privacy. They won’t need to eat all their meals with you, but you will be close by in case of an emergency or needed assistance.

Some people like to use ADUs as a kind of multi-generational housing situation. For example, you may have kids who are in college but like to come home on the breaks. An ADU could provide them with a separate apartment for the time being, but it could get utilized for older parents later on.

Some families are always hosting guests from out of town or family members who like to visit. An ADU gives them an excellent way to enjoy your company without stepping on your toes.

If you are an artist or athlete, an ADU can provide you with an elegant studio. It’s a great place to paint or dance without fear of interrupting anyone or being disturbed.

As an increasing number of individuals begin working remotely, an ADU can also get used as a private office space. If it has its own kitchen and bathroom, you can work undistracted for hours on end.

If it’s allowed in your municipality, you could also utilize your ADU as a separate apartment that you can rent out. It’s perfect for a single professional or couple. And you will certainly get your money’s worth if you are enjoying a steady income stream for years to come.

What Are The Benefits of Accessory Dwelling Units?

Even if you can’t use your ADU for rental income, you can still enjoy a number of benefits if you build one. First of all, they can raise the value of your home by 20-30%! 

Prospective buyers know the value of an accessory dwelling unit. If they’ve got a growing family or booming business, they’ll be willing to pay top dollar for the extra quality living space.

ADUs are also more sustainable living options than the average home. The smaller size requires less heating and cooling, so you can feel good about providing environmentally friendly living space in your area. 

ADUs allow you to provide a low-rent housing option to family members and friends. And if you plan on downsizing yourself one day, you can even plan to pass your house along to one of your children while you remain on the property!

ADUs provide an economical housing option that is flexible. You can utilize it for different purposes depending upon your stage in life. 

For example, if your business is doing well, you can enjoy the extra working space that your ADU provides. If you begin earning less income at some point in the future, you can rent out your ADU so you won’t be short of cash.

What Do I Need to Know Before Building an ADU?

Talk to your local municipality and/or HOA before building an ADU. They will be able to tell you about zoning laws and any permits you may need. A qualified local ADU builder, such as the one at, can also provide you with insights into the regulations in your neighborhood.

You’ll also need to make sure that you comply with fire regulations before building. For example, you may need to make sure your ADU has sprinklers and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s important to know about local building codes before you build.

In addition, keep in mind that your ADU cannot be sold as a separate residence when you decide to sell your property. It will be owned by the homeowner, who can enjoy its additional value.

Building On

Accessory dwelling units can add so much to your property in terms of usefulness, appeal, and monetary value. With the right unit and the right builders, you could be on your way to a wonderful new addition to your home in no time.

Don’t stop getting smart about your home and future now. For more great advice, read our blog today.