A Beginner’s Guide to ADU Housing: What Is It and Is It for You?

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ADU Housing

Over the last few years, ADU (short for accessory dwelling unit) housing has become a very popular option.

Throughout the country, lots of people are eschewing traditional homes and opting to live in ADUs full-time instead. In major cities like Portland, Oregon, for example, 80 percent of ADUs are being used as primary residences.

Have you been considering moving into an ADU? Are you unsure of whether or not it’s a good fit for you? If so, you’ve come to the perfect place.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about ADU housing so you can decide if it aligns with your lifestyle.

What Is an ADU?

Accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, is the legal and regulatory term used to describe secondary homes or apartments that share a lot with a larger house.

An example of an ADU could be a mother-in-law apartment in the basement or upper part of your house, a carriage house, a pool house, or a tiny house that’s separate from another property. Many homeowners rent out the accessory dwelling unit on their property as a way to earn additional income.

ADUs can be attached to houses or garages, or they can be stand-alone units. In most cases, even when they’re stand-alone units, they still use the same water and energy connections as the primary house on the property.

Benefits of ADU Housing

Now that you understand the basic ADU meaning, let’s get into the perks. There are lots of benefits that ADU housing provides, both to tenants and property owners. Some of the greatest ones include the following:

Reduced Rent Prices

For folks who are struggling to keep up with rising rent prices in major cities, ADUs can be a lifesaver. They’re often much more affordable than traditional apartments or rental houses and can be a good option for folks who are looking to save up to move into a house of their own someday.

Increased Flexibility

ADUs provide flexible living options for both the owner of the primary residence and the tenant who occupies the ADU. Property owners can rent out the unit for as long as they see fit and to whomever they choose. Tenants also get to enjoy living in a particular area without any long-term commitments.

Support Multigenerational Living

ADUs also support multigenerational living. If a parent needs to have a child move in with them to provide assistance as they get older, that child can live in the accessory unit instead of the main house so that they can still enjoy a sense of privacy. On the flip side, ADUs can be good for older parents who need to move in with their children but still want privacy and a separate space to call their own.

Earn Passive Income

For property owners, ADUs provide them with a great opportunity to earn additional income. Even if they’re charging rental prices that are below what other apartments in the area are being rented for, they can still earn a significant amount of extra money over time.

Fast Return on Investment

Sometimes, construction or renovations are needed to get an ADU tenant-ready. This can be off-putting to some property owners. In most cases, though, they’re able to see a return on their investment very quickly once they start renting out the unit.

Types of ADUs

There are several different types of dwellings that fall into the category of ADUs. The following are some of the most popular:

Detached ADU

A detached ADU is any building that is completely separate from the primary residence on a property. An example might be a prefab ADU or a carriage house. Many people prefer this option as it gives them the most privacy.

Attached ADU

Attached ADUs, as the name suggests, are attached to the primary residence. They might be attached to the side or back of the house, but they’re still their own space with a separate entrance/exit.

Garage Conversion

Some homeowners choose to convert their garage, or a portion of their garage, into an ADU. They might build an apartment above it, for example, or block off a portion of it to serve as a separate dwelling.

Interior Conversion

An interior conversion is sometimes referred to as a junior ADU. This is a part of the primary living space that’s been converted into a separate dwelling. An example could be a basement apartment or attic apartment.

How to Find an ADU that Works for You

Are you interested in ADU living? Do you need help finding an ADU that you can call home? If you’re in this situation right now, here are some tips that may help:

Reach Out to Friends and Family

A good first step is to reach out to friends or family members who have accessory dwelling units on their property. Ask them if they’d be willing to rent the unit out to you. You can also ask if they know anyone else who has an ADU that they might be interested in renting.

Search Online

Check online classifieds, too, to see if any ADUs are available in the area in which you want to live. You can also contact ADU builders on sites like ActonADU.com.

Pay Them a Visit

Once you find an ADU that seems promising, pay it a visit in-person. This gives you a chance to tour the space and ensure it meets your standards.

Read the Contract Before Moving In

Finally, read through the contract with care before you agree to move in. This will help you avoid running into any unpleasant surprises later.

Starting Looking for ADUs Today

Now that you have a more thorough understanding of ADU housing, are you convinced it’s a good option for you? If you want to save money while still having your own separate living space, ADU housing can be a great fit.

Keep the tips listed above in mind if you’re interested in ADU housing so you can find a place that meets your specific needs. Don’t forget to check out some of our other housing-related articles as well. Whether you’re interested in saving up for a place or redecorating your existing home, we have lots of resources available to help you.

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