Why You Should Consider Adding an ADU

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Over time, you may outgrow your house and need more space. With the competitive housing market, it may not be convenient to buy a second home. Adding an ADU to your lot is an alternative option. Here are the main reasons for adding an ADU to your property.

What Is an ADU?

The initialism “ADU” stands for “accessory dwelling unit.” It’s a secondary home on the same property as your primary one. You can convert your garage or basement to create an ADU. You can also build one during new construction. These homes may include a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen.

What are the Benefits of an ADU?

Now that you know the basics, here are some of the perks of having a secondary dwelling unit.

1. Extra Income

You can rent out your second home for an additional cash flow. This money can help you pay off your mortgage and cover monthly bills. It can also help you save money to purchase a new home. If you decide to finance the construction of an ADU, the rent generated can help pay off that loan.
When leasing your space, there are multiple things to consider. Here are some and landlord obligations.

  • Hire a professional to help with finances.

2. Extra Room for Family Members

You can use your ADU to house your mother or grown-up kids. For people who want to keep a close eye on their elderly family members, this is the perfect solution. It provides them their own space while allowing you to check in on them. This is especially convenient for family members who need around-the-clock care.
An ADU can also house your grown-up kids who need a place to stay after college. It allows them to save money while still having their independence.
A secondary dwelling is also good for accommodating short-term guests. This way, you can keep your bed. You also have more space to spread out from one another during their visit.

3.  Lower Cost

Housing prices have increased over the past year. The housing market has become much more competitive. This is due to lower mortgage rates and fewer homes available. ADUs provide a more cost-effective option. You even have more freedom to customize your space. Building materials and labor will take up a majority of your expenses.
ADUs also allow you to stay on your property until you find your dream home. You then have a place to stay when moving into the new house.

4. More Flexibility

Over time, what you need in a home can change. If you’re expanding your family, you will need more space. An additional unit can provide more room for expansion. It’s also more convenient for families on a tight budget.
As you age, your house’s design might not fit with your changing lifestyle. As your mobility decreases, stairs aren’t as functional. Consider adding a residential elevator to make moving between levels easier.
Here are some other ways to make your home safer as you age:

  • Secure your rugs.
  • Add a shower bench.
  • Upgrade to a walk-in tub.
  • Light up the stairs.
  • Install grab bars and handrails.

A second dwelling allows you to incorporate features matching your current needs. Some people prefer to age at home rather than in retirement facilities. With a granny flat, you have this option.

5. Increased Property Value

Having an ADU can increase your property’s resale value. Potential buyers may pay more to have that extra space. With the cash benefits and flexibility, a secondary dwelling can be a selling point. Having a detached ADU can provide you with the highest ROI.

6.  More Sustainability

Since granny flats are more compact, they use fewer resources. These homes also require less energy to power. The conservation of energy helps to lower carbon dioxide emissions. This helps prevent climate change. Saving energy also reduces your heating and cooling bills.
Here are some other tips to increase your home’s energy efficiency:

  • Change your lightbulbs.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water.
  • Clean and replace your filters.
  • Defrost your refrigerator.
  • Use natural light.

7.  Blends With Your Neighborhood Aesthetic

With their smaller size, cottage houses don’t draw too much attention. They usually have a similar design to the primary residence. When building your ADU, incorporate design elements that match your neighborhood’s style.

Things to Consider When Building an ADU

Before starting construction, keep the following in mind.


You may need to have off-street parking for your new unit. If you live in an area near public transportation, then it’s not an issue. The rules vary based on your location, so double-check with your local officials.

Access to ADU

You also need to make sure there is easy access to your secondary home. Make sure the pathway is not blocked or cluttered. You may want to add a walkway to make a clear path to the street.

Privacy Concerns

If you’re renting out your ADU, you will need to make sure your tenants feel comfortable. You may need to add screens, fences, or plants to create a barrier between the two units. Also, add blinds to the windows to increase your tenants’ privacy.

Site Conditions

You want to examine the conditions of your site before starting construction. Notice if your and is sloped or flat. Knowing these conditions ahead of time will save you from surprise expenses. For example, building on disturbed soil could impact your foundation.

Utility Connections

You shouldn’t need to install new utilities. You can tap into the water from existing piping. However, you might need to upgrade your sewage system. It may not be able to handle the additional waste. Check with your local health department before making any installations.

Design Guidelines

You want to research your local design regulations and building codes. These will influence how you build your structure. Some rules require you to add a bathroom or install proper heating.

Work With a Contractor

Make sure your contractor is experienced in building this type of home. They should understand all the rules and regulations. Do a background check before hiring a contractor.
Why an ADU Could Be Your Next Investment
A secondary unit is a great way to earn some cash. It also allows you to keep your family close by. Just be sure to follow your local property guidelines when starting construction. Now that you know some of the benefits of an ADU, consider adding one to your property!

by: Rose Morrison
Rose Morrison is a real estate and home improvement writer and the managing editor of Renovated. Check out her Twitter to see more of her work.