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Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

Are you looking to build an ADU?

What is an ADU? An accessory dwelling unit aka ADU is a secondary house or apartment that shares the building lot of a larger, primary house. ADUs vary in their physical form quite a bit, in this article, I will broaden that mental model by exposing you to some of the common ADU types, this will help you to better understand an accessory dwelling unit.

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Types of ADUs

  1. ADUs above a garage or workshop, or attached to it. In some areas, these may be called garage apartments or carriage houses. ADUs are cool, right?
  2. 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.
  3. Internal ADUs, where part of the primary house beside the basement is converted to an ADU.
  4.  Detached new construction ADUs, also sometimes called backyard cottages, granny flats, laneway houses, or DADUs, depending on the jurisdiction.
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ADUs vary in structure but they share some common traits and face common design and development challenges. They’re 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 US 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.
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You may be wondering “why do people build ADUs?” there are a number of benefits, but a few are listed below:

  • Rise Property Value– If you’re aiming to enhance your home value in The golden state, then ADU’s are a wonderful investment for your family members. ADU’s are a smart investment for households in Silicon Valley since they are based on part of the existing residential property that was unused. By developing a second backyard residence, you’re expanding your home’s convenience and also if the unit is of top quality a future profits source that can affect the resale price.
  • Earnings- Are you seeking additional income? Building an ADU and using it as a rental property is a great way to start in Real Estate and also create additional income. The possibilities are endless.
  • Cost-Effective– In most cases, the overall cost of a developed, permitted, and completed ADU costs a quarter of a single-family home in California’s Silicon Valley.
  • Longterm Investment- Lots of ADU owners find themselves scaling down into the ADU and also either sharing the primary home with their own family members or renting it out when they’ve made a decision to retire
  • Family Members staying together- It has come to be very hard for Millenials to find their personal apartment or condos or homes because of the expensive real estate market. While they are keeping careers and starting jobs, millennials are additionally having a hard time paying back college student loan debt.
  • Safety and Security- ADUs allow homeowners to easily take care of elderly parents or members of the family with specials needs or some other health needs.

Cost of building an ADU

ADU prices vary since there are different types. The AD1 starts at $99,000 for the base units, a price that excludes site work costs and permit fees. These costs include design costs, permit costs, utility connection costs, and all construction costs. And, just as importantly, these costs also include the homeowner’s estimation of their sweat equity contribution. These costs do not include are landscaping costs and furniture. Here is a list of estimated prices for different types of ADUs:

Type Cost Sq Footage Cost per Sq Ft

Attached ADU $106,000 500 204

Attached ADU $126,000 361 349

Attached ADU $157,000 820 191

Attached ADU $167,000 660 253

Attached ADU $216,000 439 492

Basement ADU $74,000 391 189

New construction $112,000 400 280

Detached new construction above a garage $195,000, Sq Footage|790, Cost per Sq Ft|171

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