A couple of months ago, it got a lot easier to build an ADU, carriage house, a granny flat, or an in-law suite (whichever you chose to call it) in Richmond, Virginia. At the end of July, Richmond’s Department of Planning and Development Review released their proposed ordinance to liberalize the city’s permitting of accessory dwelling units - a legal and regulatory term for a secondary house or apartment that shares the building lot of a larger, primary home. Adding a supplemental housing unit to an existing home has become extremely popular in recent times for several coinciding reasons. The benefits of building an edition onto your existing home or adding an ADU are numerous. This blog should give you the reasons and benefits you might be looking for.
Benefits Of Building An ADU
The main benefit to building an ADU is that they give homeowners the flexibility to share independent living areas with family members and others when necessary. It can allow senior family members to age in place as they require more care and/or extended families to live close while still maintaining privacy.
As Baby-Boomers approach their 70s and 80s, they may wish to live nearer to their children and grandchildren, they may not want to deal with the maintenance of their existing home, they may experience mobility or other health issues... maybe it's all of these things. Regardless, building an ADU (accessory dwelling unit) is the perfect solution and could allow them to age in place near family rather than going to Assisted Living or paying a premium for a senior living home that they'll only have to move out of when they need more help.
See also Aging In Place Living
Since COVID, many families have experienced growing pains in their homes and across the country, the housing market has offered very little from a buyers standpoint. Building on to your existing home or adding an ADU is the perfect solution to giving multi-generational families space to breathe - literally. Adult children who find the need to move back home may find that an ADU is the perfect solution to having their own space while they get back on their feet.
Additionally, adding a secondary dwelling unit to your existing home can give homeowners the option for earning rental income, as there is also a major shortage in rentals properties.
What Exactly Is An ADU
An ADU is a secondary dwelling unit with complete independent living facilities for one or more persons and generally takes three forms:
Detached: The unit is separated from the primary structure
Attached: The unit is attached to the primary structure
Repurposed Existing Space: Space (e.g., master bedroom) within the primary residence is converted into an independent living unit
Junior Accessory Dwelling Units: Similar to repurposed space with various streamlining measures ADUs offer benefits that address common development barriers such as affordability and environmental quality.
ADUs tend to be a more affordable type of home to construct because they do not require purchasing land or other costs that starting a new construction does. ADUs are typically built with more cost-effective one or two-story wood frame construction, which is significantly less costly. ADUs can serve very well for couples, small families, friends, young people, and seniors. To address the needs of individuals or small families seeking living quarters in preferred areas where housing availability is limited, homeowners can construct an ADU on their lot or convert an underutilized part of their home like a garage.
Many older Americans today would gladly leave huge houses in favor of smaller, affordable units, but currently carriage houses and backyard cottages are few and far between. It doesn’t have to stay that way. ADUs may not be a silver bullet for the housing crisis, but they certainly are an excellent option for many people. We at Longevity Home Solutions are seeing a real shift to multigenerational living, and ADUs could play a role in helping aging consumers downsize and support changing needs and requirements allowing grandparents, parents, and kids to live comfortably living on the same parcel.
If you or a member of your family is considering building an ADU, remodeling an existing home or adding an edition to a home; call on Rick Byers and Longevity Home Solutions. Rick has decades of experience in the custom home building and remodeling and he is a certified Age-In-Place specialist. Through the training, education and hands-on experience, he has been able to not only guide families in the home modification for aging in place but also families with members of all ages in need of special adaptations for safety, mobility and accessibility.