The US housing crisis continues to bite, with the country now short 5.24 million homes. That’s 1.4 million more than in 2019 when the shortage gap was at 3.84 million.
As the gap between home supply and demand widens, many Americans are coming up with new solutions. One smart way to combat the current housing shortage is by building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). This option is available for many of the 79.36 million owner-occupied homes in America today.
Exactly what is an accessory dwelling unit? What types of ADUs are there? More importantly, what benefits does an ADU afford you as a homeowner?
Read on to learn more.
What Is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)?
The term accessory dwelling unit describes a self-contained residential unit that’s located on the same lot as a single-family home. Typically, an ADU is smaller in size than the existing family home. However, the unit contains all of the basic amenities a primary dwelling contains, including a sleeping area, a kitchen, and a bathroom.
ADUs are also referred to by other names, including granny flats, accessory apartments, casitas, and second units. These little abodes can be used in many ways and are an excellent addition to any home.
Types of Accessory Dwelling Units
Generally, accessory dwelling units are available in three main types. Let’s take a closer look at each.
Interior Accessory Dwelling Unit
As the name suggests, an interior ADU is typically located inside the primary dwelling.
It is built from an existing space, such as a basement or an attic that’s converted. Interior ADUs are a great option for homes with two entrances and a lot of space that’s not in use.
Attached Accessory Dwelling Unit
An attached ADU is an addition that adjoins the primary dwelling, usually to the side or rear of the main house.
The unit can also be built on top of a garage attached to the primary dwelling. It’s a great option for people looking for a separate house.
A detached accessory dwelling unit is a stand-alone structure that’s separate from the primary dwelling. You can opt to have a detached ADU as an entirely independent unit or have it built on top of a detached garage.
For both attached and detached ADUs, there are plenty of casita plans for backyard installation.
What Are the Benefits of Building an ADU?
There are many reasons why ADUs are among the top home upgrades for many homeowners. Here are just some of them.
An ADU Offers Low-Cost Housing for Family Members
Many homeowners who build ADUs do so to provide housing for family members. As housing becomes more expensive, more children are opting to live with their parents for longer. Currently, 52 percent of young adults in the US live with their parents.
There are, of course, many reasons why many young adults live at home. Many young people opt to continue with their education well into their 20s, with most not making enough money to live independently.
Even if your children have already left your home and live independently, you can still make your ADU an in-law apartment. The unit helps your in-laws maintain their independence while still being close enough to you.
ADUs also make the ideal dwelling spaces for your elderly parents, who you may want to check on regularly.
Your Short-Term Guest Can Stay in the ADU
If you frequently receive guests, then an ADU makes perfect sense. The ADU can serve as a guest house where you host your visitors during their visit. The unit allows both you and your guests much-needed privacy during their stay on your property.
Because an ADU is spacious and convenient, your guests get to have a lot of comfort during their visit. This is especially the case if the only other alternative is letting them sleep on the couch.
It’s an Opportunity to Earn Passive Income
An ADU can also prove a steady source of rental income if you’re comfortable with having a tenant in your property. This is particularly ideal if it’s a detached ADU.
The best thing about an ADU is that it has its own entrance, as well as such amenities as a bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom. Thus, your tenant can enjoy privacy and independence.
Even if you don’t wish to have long-term tenants, you can rent out the space for short-term vacations. Some websites like AirBnB make this easy for homeowners like you.
An ADU Can Boost Property Value
Just about any home upgrade you do in your home enhances your property value, and an ADU is no different. The fact is an ADU is in many ways an additional house, and buyers will have no problem paying more for the property.
With an ADU, buyers know they’re getting more houses to use for whatever they wish, whether as extra storage space, art studio, rental space, or guest house. Even if you’re not thinking of selling your home soon, an ADU is an upgrade that’s guaranteed to boost your home equity, which is great should you ever want to go for a home equity loan.
Investing in an Accessory Dwelling Unit Is a Fantastic Idea
Investing in an accessory dwelling unit is one of the smartest home upgrades you can make. Not only do you get more space to use as you wish, but also significantly boost your home’s value.
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