What Are Accessory Dwelling Units?

You’ve probably heard of granny flats or in-law suits, or maybe even live-in garages or extra apartments in the basements of homes. These spaces, which allow homeowners to create an additional living space on their property, can be a perfect addition to any house or property. Although they go by many names, they’re best known as accessory dwelling units (ADUs). If you search online, you can find many options for turning additional space into an ADU.

Accessory dwelling units come in many forms and offer an array of benefits. ADUs can provide you with a separate space – a space that you can do a lot with. You can search online and discover what benefits you could reap from building an ADU on your property. 

Accessory dwelling units can be a smart addition for many homeowners. If you’re wondering what to do with extra space, you might find that an ADU is a perfect fit for your needs and your finances.  

An Accessory Dwelling Unit is an Extra Property

Simply put, an accessory dwelling unit is an extra living space on your property. However, ADUs can come in many different sizes, styles, and even locations in and around your home.

Typically, an ADU is a self-contained structure that sits on the same property as a single-family home. These dwellings are small in size, ranging from 600 to 1,200 square feet in size. From a kitchen to a living area to a separate entrance, they often include everything that a larger home has, . 

ADUs can be created within garages, as separate tiny houses, as apartments, or even out of converted sheds and other structures. In areas with limited housing, like the states of California and Vermont, ADUs can provide critical housing where options are limited. 

Accessory Dwelling Units Offer a Number of Benefits

Wondering why you might want to use your extra space to create an ADU? These small, separate living spaces can offer several benefits for homeowners. From providing additional housing in your local area to improving your own home, an ADU can be a very worthwhile investment.

The following are some of the biggest benefits to creating an ADU on your property.

Increased Property Value

Adding an ADU to your home’s property can actually increase the value of your home. They’re an excellent long-term investment because they increase the amount of livable space on your property. It’s like creating a second home on your home’s existing lot.

The addition of an ADU can add 20 to 30 percent to your home’s property value.

Separate Space for Elderly or Disabled Individuals

The cost of moving elderly parents or grandparents into senior housing or a nursing home is incredibly high. For example, a semi-private room at a nursing home costs approximately $7,000 per month, while a private room can top $8,000.

However, if you have an ADU on your property, you can move elderly or disabled relatives into that space and save money. It allows you to keep them close by for the care they need without spending a ton of money.

Low-Cost Housing for Older Kids and Parents

Have parents who are still independent but don’t need a large living space? Or maybe you’re the parent of older children who are ready to live on their own but can’t afford to do so.

An ADU can solve both of these problems, providing a separate living space for their needs. Your parents could live in their own home right on your property; your adult children could use the space as a low-cost housing option. 

Efficient Use of Space

Instead of performing renovations on your actual home, adding an ADU can make for an efficient use of available space. You can create a place for guests to stay without intruding on your space, or you can create a workshop or office for personal use. You can even create a space that meets a particular need, like an office where soundproofing is needed.

You Can Turn an Accessory Dwelling Unit into Extra Income

In addition to all of the benefits mentioned above, there’s another reason so many homeowners are turning to ADUs. You can make money off an ADU – and it could provide you with a passive income for both the short- and long-term. 

An ADU is certainly a financial investment. It can cost anywhere from $40,000 to $90,000 to build an ADU on your property. But you can easily turn that investment into an income stream that gives you an excellent return on your money.

You can make money off an ADU in two ways:

  • Renting it out as a short-term vacation property, such as an Airbnb. You can charge visitors for overnight stays to week-long vacations.
  • Renting it out as a long-term rental property, like an apartment. You can welcome tenants on a monthly or yearly basis and charge a monthly fee. 

These options can bring in consistent income. As long as you have renters, you’ll be able to make money and supplement your normal income. Just make sure to check with local laws and requirements for operating the type of rental property you plan to proceed with.

How to Get Started

If you’re interested in adding an accessory dwelling unit to your property, there’s no better time than right now. With limited housing in many U.S. cities, you can greatly benefit from adding onto your property and using the space as a rental unit of any kind. Your home’s value could increase, along with your monthly income. 

Before you break ground on a new housing unit, though, it’s important to do your research. Building an ADU can be expensive, and you’ll want to make sure you’re making the right investments to really recoup your money. You’ll also want to research the laws in your area to make sure the kind of ADU you’re interested in is appropriate. Search online, and you’ll be able to compare resources, ideas, and more.

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