We’ve all seen the tiny house trend that’s been blowing up for the past decade or so, but there’s another (fairly comparable) trend that’s on the rise, too. That’s right, we’re talking about accessory dwelling units, the on-property cousin of the tiny house.

Accessory dwelling units, in a broad sense, can encompass any independent living unit on someone’s private, residential property. This can include a refurbished apartment above the garage, a separate housing development out back, or any other kind of self-contained living space.

The question is, what are the benefits of an accessory dwelling unit? What do you include in an accessory dwelling unit that makes them so valuable?

We’re here to answer all of your questions about accessory dwelling units in this quick, easy-to-read guide. Let’s dive in!

What Does an Accessory Dwelling Unit Contain?

Granny or mother-in-law suites, guest houses, backyard cottages: all of these names you may have heard before fall under the category of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs. What do these things have in common? What are ADUs supposed to contain?

To be considered an ADU, the unit should be somewhere around 800 square feet. A little smaller or larger is fine, depending on the laws and regulations in your city.

ADUs should be equipped with everything one might need to live comfortably. This includes a sleeping area, a kitchen or kitchenette, and a bathroom equipped with a shower or bathtub.

Some ADUs are designed in the style of a loft or studio apartment. That means that rather than designating a separate room for, say, the kitchen, living area, and bedroom, the entire space is open concept. Of course, you will still want to create more privacy for the bathroom!

To find out more about how to design and build your own ADU, visit Actonadu.com.

Accessory Dwelling Unit Benefits

Why would you want an ADU on your own property? What are the biggest benefits of an ADU? Let’s take a closer look.

Low-Cost Housing

There may come a time in your life where a family member needs low-cost accommodations in a space where you can provide them with assistance. Moving a family member into your primary home is always an option, but it may not be the most ideal. If you want to bring a family member to live with you but want to maintain privacy and space, an ADU is the perfect solution, as it provides them with everything they need at no or low cost.

Extra Space for Guests

Do you love playing host but feel like you don’t have enough room for your guests to stay in your house? Asking loved ones to rent a hotel room nearby isn’t always feasible, especially from a financial perspective. Building an ADU gives you the extra space you need to host guests for short-term stays without feeling too cramped.

Opportunity to Develop a (Mostly) Passive Income

Chances are, you’re familiar with businesses that allow individual property owners to rent out all or part of their homes to travelers. This can be a great way to bring in additional income and profit off of the tourism industry in your city. However, it’s understandable if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your property with a stranger or handing over the keys.

Developing an ADU allows you to host travelers without having to share your personal space and belongings. For the most part, this income can be considered passive. All you have to do is perform routine maintenance and make sure that the space is ready for your next guest.

Higher Property Value

Remember when we said that ADUs were growing in popularity? A recent survey of California residents over 50 found that 84% of participants were interested in building an ADU on their property.

What that means for you is that if you’re selling a property that already has an ADU, you’re going to increase the competition for your listing. The more buyers who are interested in your property, the more you can raise the price. In fact, between the possibility of renting out your ADU and the increase in property value they provide, ADUs will typically pay for themselves–and then some.

Increased Sustainability

Now, let’s address the question you may have on your mind at this point. Why build an ADU rather than building an addition onto your home?

Perhaps the biggest reason that an ADU is preferable to an on-home addition is that ADUs are more sustainable. They require far less energy to heat and cool than your primary residential property. Plus, when no one is staying in your ADU, you can reduce energy use in your ADU by up to 90%.

An addition to your home, on the other hand, cannot be successfully closed off from the rest of the property. If you’re heating or cooling your home, you’re losing energy to that area that is currently not in use.

Plus, when you’re designing your very own ADU, you have the option of choosing sustainable materials and energy sources. You can make the entire ADU a green accessory dwelling unit!

Invest In Your Own ADU Today

Accessory dwelling units are rising in popularity, and it isn’t surprising. There are tons of benefits to building an ADU on your property, whether you want to provide a space for loved ones or increase your passive income. ADUs make great investments for any homeowner, so consider investing in your own ADU today!

Do you want to learn more about the real estate industry and how you can use it to your advantage? Take a look at our real estate section and find out the latest trends, laws, and tips that will help you maximize your real estate profits.