Accessory Dwelling Unit ADU, Explained

Categories: Uncategorized

If you’re set on building an ADU, you may want to finance it with a cash-out refinance or a home equity loan. Other options include a home equity line of credit or a construction loan, but it’s important to note that Rocket Mortgage® does not currently offer HELOCs or construction loans. An ADU has all the basic facilities needed for day-to-day living independent of the main home, such as a kitchen, sleeping area, and a bathroom. As the term “accessory” implies, ADUs are generally defined to be smaller in size and prominence than the main residence on the lot. Some definitions include specific size limits, and a location that is not readily visible from the street. Many older communities have an existing supply of illegally created ADUs.

  1. While accessory dwelling units may be attached or detached, their purpose is to provide their tenants with complete and independent living facilities.
  2. For instance, you could take out a renovation loan, use homeowner refinancing if you have any equity, or use any cash you might have on hand.
  3. Home appraisers will use this additional square footage to calculate how much the property is now worth.
  4. The ADU must provide for living, sleeping, cooking, and bathroom facilities and be on the same parcel as the primary one-unit dwelling.
  5. These zoning laws generally limit the size and style of any new unit and require that the owner lives on the property.
  6. It has no separate address, and you cannot legally sell it on its own (even if it’s a separate building).

The ability to increase property occupancy rates awarded savvy homeowners with a lower cost of living. However, today’s economic conditions have once again increased the popularity of ADUs. Consider how an ADU could be added to your home; you may find ADU real estate strategies complement your long-term rental portfolio. This page provides a brief overview of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) for cities and counties in Washington State, including legal requirements and examples of city and county codes.

The housing and rental market varies significantly by both state and city. The latest real estate investing content delivered straight to your inbox. But creating an ADU in your home is a complex task, both legally and literally.


Detached accessory dwelling units, for example, cost quite a bit more than their attached counterparts. According to, detached ADU real estate can cost homeowners upwards of twice as much as attached units. They can also be a source of extra income by renting out the space or listing it on services like Airbnb. Examples of an ADU include a garage or shed converted into a tiny house, a basement apartment, or an apartment over a garage, sometimes called a granny flat. There are other types of housing options, such as a guest house, that can be classified as an ADU. An ADU is a separate accessory structure from the main house but cannot legally be sold or separated from the main house.

What qualifies as an ADU?

Some of these communities offer, or have offered, some form of limited amnesty to owners of illegal ADUs. These amnesty programs may waive permitting and inspection fees in exchange for owners registering their units, and they typically expire within a year or two of adoption. From this page you can search for resources that provide background, policy guidance, and examples of local plan recommendations and zoning standards for ADUs from across the country.

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU), otherwise known as a “mother-in-law” or “granny flat,” is an additional living quarter located on the same lot as an existing single-family home. While accessory dwelling units may be attached or detached, their purpose is to provide their tenants with complete and independent living facilities. To be classified as an accessory dwelling unit, the living space must include permanent living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation. In other words, an ADU is essentially a self-sufficient home that happens to be located on the same plot as a single-family home. The criteria that make up an ADU house may differ, so be sure to check with the proper authorities in your area to better understand what an ADU is. ADUs are considered additional living space, so they must have the same safety features as the main residence.

What is an ADU?

It is essentially a smaller version of an ADU, coming in at 500 square feet or less. Unlike ADUs, JADUs must be attached to or inside an existing structure, and they do not require a separate bathroom if one is accessible in the main dwelling. Some communities, however, only allow ADUs that are within or attached to the main residence, and exclude ADUs housed in a separate structure. Whether attached or detached from the main residence, most codes require that the main residence and the ADU must be owned by the same person and may not be sold separately. When cities and counties address ADUs in their comprehensive plans, they often include policy recommendations related to updating zoning regulations or providing public information about existing regulations.

Some communities also explicitly identify land-use categories or place types where ADUs are appropriate. The rules for ADUs and what type of kitchen they require will depend on where you live. It is also a good idea to use a contractor who knows the local zoning rules and requirements for ADUs. While gaining approval and the investment to build might seem daunting, the end result is you’ll create a living space your family member or tenant can use, and you’ll likely increase your home’s worth down the road.

Some towns limit ADU sizes to under 500 square feet within the existing residence (called a junior accessory dwelling unit). In comparison, others cap the size at 1,000 square feet and allow either an attached or detached unit. An ADU almost always requires a permit, but it depends on the state and local laws.

Now that you know the various types of ADUs and their relative advantages, these are some other common questions to ask before getting started on your project. If you want to add an ADU to your property, here are a few tips to help you begin planning your project. Only 38% of the nation’s households have more than 3 or more people in them. 6) Internal ADUs, where part of the primary house other than the basement is converted to an ADU. The most efficient way to finance an ADU varies depending on the owner’s individual situation.

What Is an ADU?

Some cities are bringing this shadow form of housing into the light by design. Portland, Oregon, is the de facto leader in the US for this particular type of infill housing. These differentiating characteristics make ADUs a distinct type of housing. adu meaning Until recently, there has been a lack of common understanding around the language and best practices of ADU development. However, in the past few decades, cities across the country began updating local ordinances to allow for this housing.

Outside of Washington State, other local governments are also experimenting with incentives for ADU construction. Portland also provides an ADU Financing Guide that identifies local financial institutions with programs that can be used to fund ADU construction. Other local governments, such as Marin County (CA), will waive permit fees between $2,500 and $10,000 based on the rates at which the ADU will be rented, ranging from market-rate to at or below 80% area median income. Since the late 20th century, many communities have created programs to preserve or expand the local supply of affordable housing. According to Freddie Mac, at least 1.4 million properties had ADUs as of 2019, and more homeowners have been interested in creating such units on their properties since that survey came out. Natalia Siniavskaia, NAHB assistant vice president of housing policy research notes that NAHB members have reported an increase in projects that could be ADU conversions in the last year.

On this website, book and in the Building an ADU course, I cover the pragmatic steps to developing a permitted ADU on a property, what the common stumbling blocks are, and strategies to overcome those stumbling blocks. We’ll talk about how much they cost to build, how to pay for them, and the return on investment. We’ll cover the regulations, finding a designer and builder, basic building science, options for using or renting the ADU, ADU design principles, ADU utility connections, and more. Finally, we’ll review the entire step-by-step process to ADU development from start to finish. As you might imagine, an internal ADU means that part of an existing home is partitioned off and renovated to form a separate living space.

An ADU may be attached to a house or garage, or it can be built as a stand-alone unit, but it generally will make use of the water and energy connections of the primary house. Therefore, ADUs may be worth the investment if the owner can recoup the initial investment in a reasonable amount of time. Likewise, this particular investment strategy is more geared towards long-term commitments. However, it is worth noting that building an ADU may take time, so profits may not come in immediately.

For starters, ADUs increase housing diversity in already-developed residential neighborhoods, often adding much-needed affordable housing solutions. ADUs are also a solution for homeowners who want to downsize while staying in their neighborhood; they can design an ADU to meet their needs, then rent out the primary residence. ADUs are also popular among homeowners because they add property value while creating an opportunity for passive income. Depending on where you live, you may have to adhere to zoning laws, which can prohibit turning a single-family home into a duplex or adding an external structure. Check your local government for more information, particularly if you plan to build an Airbnb-type rental. You can also check on property taxes, building permit requirements and special permissions.

With a basement, garage, or attic ADU, Homeadvisor estimates the project to be complete in two months. Building a new dwelling can take four to five months, illustrating how much more you’ll pay in labor costs for new builds. If you’re building a new unit, “locate the site and conduct some essential work on it. For example, looking for any faults, pipelines under the earth, big chunks of rocks, etc,” recommends Ben Fisher, a real estate investor and owner of the Fisher Group, based in Park City, Utah.

Deixe um comentário