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Extending Your Home With ADUs

Updated: May 22, 2023

If you love your home but suddenly find yourself needing additional space for family members who want independence but also need to be close to you, building an Accessory Dwelling Unit or ADU may be your best bet. These days, many home-owners are needing multigenerational living spaces due to their adult children coming back home or elderly parents needing extra care that they must provide. If you aren't looking to move from your current home, perhaps looking at a custom built addition would be the perfect solution. Let's learn more about ADUs.



What is an ADU? Accessory Dwelling Units Explained:

An accessory dwelling unit is a secondary housing unit on a single-family residential lot. The term “accessory dwelling unit” is a institutional-sounding name, but it’s the most commonly-used term across the country to describe this type of housing. The fact that it is a secondary housing unit—rather than a given structural form—is what defines an ADU. ADUs vary in their physical form quite a bit, so let's talk about the range of common ADU types, in order to better understand what they are.

TYPES OF ADUs 1) Detached new construction ADUs, also sometimes called backyard cottages, in-law suites

2) Garage conversion ADUs

3) ADUs above a garage or workshop, or attached to it. In some areas, these may be called garage apartments or carriage houses:

4) Addition ADUs or “bump-out ADUs”:

5) Basement conversion ADUs, also commonly called basement apartments, mother-in-law units, in law units, secondary suites, English basements, accessory apartments, and a host of other names.

6) Internal ADUs, where part of the primary house besides the basement is converted to an ADU.


What ADUs have in common

While their structural forms vary, ADUs share some common traits and face common design and development challenges. The fact that they are secondary housing units on single family residentially zoned lots places ADUs into a unique category of housing. And ADUs also have some other distinguishing characteristics that help further define, differentiate, and distinguish them from other housing types.

  • ADUs are accessory and adjacent to a primary housing unit.

  • ADUs are significantly smaller than the average house.

  • ADUs tend to be one of two units owned by one owner on a single family residential lot.

  • ADUs tend to be primarily developed asynchronously from the primary house by homeowner developers.

  • A large range of municipal land use and zoning regulations differentiate ADU types and styles, and dramatically affect their allowed uses

  • Vast numbers of informal ADUs exist compared to permitted ADUs.

These differentiating characteristics make ADUs a distinct type of housing. Till now, there has been a lack of common understanding around the language and best practices of ADU development.


What are the benefits of having an ADUs?

ADUs allow people to age in place by providing an array of options, such as an easy downsize to a separate, more accessible home on the property. Other options are to use the ADU as living quarters for a caregiver or for a relative or friend who needs a place to live.




Is ADU a good Investment?

Absolutely! If you're looking for a long-term investment, you can't go wrong with building an accessory dwelling unit. Not only do they add immensely to your home's resale value, but they provide great passive income!

How many ADUs are there?

In the twelve academic studies and professionally funded surveys that have been conducted on the presence of informal ADUs, they have all found that a whopping 10-20% of all the housing units in their study area are informal ADUs. Indeed, the presence of informal ADUs may be the single best indicator of the need for ADUs in general. It’s a “gray market” expression of the need for this form of housing. If you're thinking of extending YOUR home with ADUs, please CONTACT Longevity Home Solutions.



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