7 Benefits of Building an ADU Home (+ ADU Home Guide)

FEBRUARY 8, 2023


You’re probably interested in building an ADU home on your property if you’ve landed on this article. But what are the benefits of building an ADU? We’ll discuss that and more in this complete guide to ADU homes.

What is an ADU Home?

An ADU home, or accessory dwelling unit, is a growing trend in the United States for residential properties. It is a secondary living space located on the same property as a primary single-family home.

These units can serve different needs, such as offering extra room, generating rental income, a passive house, or being an in-law suite. Prefab ADUs give homeowners flexibility and a cost-effective option while addressing the need for more eco-friendly and energy-efficient housing.

Some ADU owners also use their units as work spaces, storage, guest houses, backyard homes, among other things.

Benefits of Building ADU Homes

Here are several advantages of creating ADU Homes before you rush out to hire contractors and architects to begin the process of your construction project.

1. Rental Unit to Earn Passive Income

Want to get some extra money? A prefab ADU home can be utilized as a vacation rental through worry-free platforms like Airbnb, providing a business opportunity for the owner to earn passive income when not using the space themselves. This can be especially beneficial in states like California, where rental yields have increased by as much as 20% in some counties. An ADU can provide homeowners or companies with a sizable increase in income.

2. Increased Property Value

When you add an ADU to your property, it can make the property more desirable to potential buyers. As the need for quality housing rises, properties that have accessory dwelling units are likely to appreciate, especially in progressive cities like San Francisco. Having a backyard ADU can boost a property’s appeal and, in the process, help it stand out in a crowded real estate market, given the rising demand for high-quality housing and the popularity of additional dwelling units.

3. Family and Guests Visiting From Out of Town

An ADU can give visitors from out of town a private and independent living space, where they can have privacy and comfort during their stay. With an ADU, guests can access quality amenities such as a fully-equipped kitchen, appliances, laundry facilities, and other things that hotels usually don’t have.

4. Be With Your Family

Backyard ADUs allow you to live within distance of beloved family members, such as children, and older family members, or even under the same roof. This benefit is actually huge for us at ADU.Works, because family ties factor into our company values. We believe that ADUs are the answer to the California housing crisis that is driving a wedge between family members, forcing children and elderly relatives to live in a cheaper town. Now, with the option to build more affordable housing, families don’t have to separate just so they can afford housing.

5. You Still Maintain Privacy

ADUs or modular homes can be beneficial for owners who do not want guests to stay in their current property or who want to maintain a certain degree of separation between their space and the guest without compromising the quality of their stay. This can be especially helpful for families with elderly parents or grandparents because it gives them a place to live independently while remaining close to their loved ones in California in the process. Your ADU will have separate access, so there’s little to no disruption to the primary when moving in, out and about.

6. Sustainability and Energy Efficiency

Building an ADU home with ADU.Works can be a sustainable option in many ways, from utilizing existing infrastructure to promoting electrical energy efficiency, being eco-friendly, and providing affordable housing in urban areas across California. Some ADU building companies use recycled materials, such as fiber cement siding and moldings, to promote more sustainable practices. Most ADUs also use smart technology and sustainable features that are part of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Standards. ADUs can also help lower the carbon footprint of a property by offering additional living space that’s more energy efficient than a standalone home. You can even build a home with Net Zero Energy through insulation, air, and solar energy systems that can make your ADU more energy-efficient and cost-effective.

7. Help Solve the Housing Crisis

When you build ADUs, you’re able to provide long-term rental at much more affordable prices to the community. As a result, you can help those who might not be able to afford to build an ADU or expensive rentals. As a result, you can help a single mother who might need cheaper rent so she can provide for her kids. Or you can help an immigrant family who can now bring their kids from outside the country because they have the necessary space for it. These kinds of stories are what inspire us at ADU.Works to continue to champion this form of housing across California.

Considerations Before Building an ADU

You can ensure that the construction of your dream ADU project is effective and meets your objectives by taking the time to investigate and understand these factors before you begin construction of the project to make sure it has the highest quality.

Your Home’s Current Layout & Design

You can be confident that adding a pre-engineered prefab ADU to your property will make it seem better and won’t cause any issues or disruptions. Assessing your property’s available size and the ADU’s location is part of the whole process. You will also have to consider the setbacks that state laws require.

Some homeowners may have project management skills, but it’s still necessary to speak with an ADU building company, which can help you determine whether your property is suitable and if the project is feasible. If you need that sort of guidance, our engineering team is more than ready to help you figure out a way to fit your ADU’s floor plan on your property. That way, your dream ADU works perfectly into your property’s layout.

The Purpose of Your Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

Before building your ADU in California, you need to determine the purpose from several options. Is it solely for extra living quarters, rental property, a home office, a home gym, a room for a hobby, or other workspaces?

This also helps you create a feasible budget for the project and choose the appropriate permitting and permissions for local building codes. Especially for separate utilities, the backyard homes’ size, design, and features will influence the whole process cycle of the project from engineering to completion of project management.

The Type of ADU You Want to Build

The money involved and the project’s complexity will also depend on the type of ADU you choose. The primary ADU categories you can choose from are as follows:

Attached ADU

The attached ADU is a second home that is physically connected to the primary house. Compared to detached ADUs, they are generally tiny homes and may have less access to outdoor space and natural light since they have limited windows.

An attached ADU can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they are normally smaller than the main house and can have a living room, kitchen, and bathroom.

Detached ADU

This type of accessory dwelling unit is a separate, independent living space that shares the same property as the primary dwelling. These structures are often constructed as one-piece backyard home models and deliver privacy and independence to both the residents of the primary residence and those who live in the ADU.

A detached ADU’s size and style might vary, but they are normally smaller than the primary residence and may be built in the same architectural style.

Garage ADU

A garage ADU is one of the dwelling units that is built by turning a garage into a residential area without spending too much money for the site. The existing structure frequently shares utilities with the primary dwelling.

A garage ADU normally has a living area, bathroom, and kitchen and can be utilized for a variety of things.

Basement ADU

A basement ADU is an example of a living space that is developed by converting an existing basement into an accessory dwelling unit. This is one of the ADU designs that can be entered from within the main home or through a separate entry, and it is often situated below the main floor plan or the foundation.

When considering a basement ADU, you should look into things like the area’s ventilation, natural lighting, and emergency exits for a seamless experience.

Your Area’s Development Standards & Regulations

To ensure your intended prefab ADU construction complies with local laws and system regulations, check with your local buildings department and permitting board. Hiring a skilled builder or contractor who is knowledgeable of local laws and can help you navigate the process to give you the highest quality possible.

The Size of Your New Space

ADUs come in varying sizes, although there are mostly caps to the floor area in the United State. The maximum size may change according to local rules and building regulations. In California, for instance, ADUs can be as big as 800 square feet, as long as 16 feet high, and typically have 4-foot setbacks at the rear and sides.

ADUs that are that exceed 800 square feet could cost more money to build and maintain, while those that are too small might not be one of the contemporary design options that would be used as living areas. Based on elements including the size of the lot, the size of the primary residence, and the setbacks from other structures and property lines, zoning restrictions will have more requirements for bigger ADUs.

Your Site’s Conditions

The project’s feasibility and expense can be impacted by elements including the land’s slope, thetype of soil, access to the desired location for the ADU, drainage, and utility accessibility, among others. It’s crucial to perform a site inspection to ascertain the pre-construction condition of the premises and to speak with a construction expert who can evaluate the feasibility of the project and offer guidance on the best design options for prefab homes.

You can assess if there are any restrictions or difficulties that will affect the price and schedule of building an ADU on your property by taking into account the site’s circumstances.

Utility Connections

Water, electrical energy, gas, and sewage connections are referred to as utility connections. Ensure the current utilities are sufficient and capable of serving the additional demand a Of the ADU, considering the existing and projected appliances of the main dwelling.

It is also important to use Energy Star appliances, especially if you want to use the ADU as one of your workspaces since they have a HERS certification.
Frequently Asked Questions

Are ADU Homes (Accessory Dwelling Units) allowed in California?

As a means of addressing the state’s housing shortage, California has been actively promoting the construction of quality ADUs. California approved laws in 2016 to simplify the permitting process, lower the amount of zoning and parking regulations, and facilitate the construction of ADUs by homeowners and companies. The most sustainable and welcoming place in California for prefab ADUs is San Jose.

Is an ADU a good investment?

Yes, it can be a good investment, especially in California. An ADU can raise the value of existing buildings, bring in more rental money, and provide you with more sustainable housing options. Always seek professional guidance for the process from an expert ADU builder to assess the potential return on investment and ensure compliance with local building regulations for your proposed ADU.

How much does it cost to build an ADU in California?

Costs in California can often range from $150,000 to $300,000 or more. A local architect, general contractor, or company should be consulted to obtain a more precise quote for your particular project. At ADU.Works, we are on the more affordable side of the industry. For example, our smallest model, The Maverick 392, starts at $139,400. To check out our other models, you can head over here. To fully grasp the cost of establishing an ADU in your location, you should engage with a builder or construction company with expertise in creating ADUs in California. We’re more than happy to give you the guidance you need. Feel free to contact us at any point in time.

Final Thoughts

An ADU home, or accessory dwelling unit, is a growing trend in the United States for residential properties. It is a secondary living space located on the same property as a primary single-family home.

These units can serve different needs, such as offering extra room, generating rental income, a passive house, or being an in-law suite. Prefab ADUs give homeowners flexibility and a cost-effective option while addressing the need for more eco-friendly and energy-efficient housing.

Some ADU owners also use their units as work spaces, storage, guest houses, backyard homes, among other things.

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