Are you planning to construct an attached ADU to add more living spaces to your property? An ADU stands for an accessory dwelling unit, and goes by many names, depending on the structure’s purpose. Some call it a mother-in-law suite or granny flat, while others refer to them as secondary dwelling units.

Whichever name you use, the underlying purpose of constructing an ADU remains the same: adding a fully functional separate living space to elevate your life quality and property value.

ADUs have become more popular as the work-from-home movement continues to grow and also for their relatively modest cost.

We discuss the benefits of attached ADUs and what factors homeowners should consider before adding one to their property.

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

An accessory dwelling unit serves as a secondary housing unit that exists on the same lot of land as the primary structure. Depending on the homeowner’s requirements and square footage availability, an ADU can be attached or detached from the primary home.

Most homeowners design accessory dwelling units with separate entrances, bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens, making them fully functional living spaces.

What Is An Attached ADU?

An attached ADU is an addition to the existing foundational structure, generally added to the side or back of the house. Attached ADUs connect the new structure to the primary house using at least one connecting wall.

These new additions could include adding a second story or extending the house generally from the side or rear of the house. Homeowners can decide whether they want to share appliances and utilities or install separate connections for the ADU.

Other Types of ADUs

Accessory dwelling units are broadly classified into three major types: attached, detached, and interior and Junior ADUs. While attached ADUs are described above, let’s look at the other types of ADUs.

An interior ADU is designed by transforming a living space within the existing home, such as converting the attic or basement into a separate housing unit. They can have the same or separate entrances, and homeowners can also share or separate the utilities, and appliances, depending on their needs. An ADU remodel means converting existing space within the primary dwelling and can be a more affordable option than adding new construction to the property.

A detached ADU is a standalone structure separate from the main house but residing on the same lot. Detached ADUs are generally the most popular option, such as a backyard cottage, as they provide excellent privacy with independent living facilities.

Junior ADUs are smaller than other types of ADUs, as they can only be up to 500 square feet in size and must be a part of the existing home. These generally only require kitchen accommodations, as bathroom facilities are often shared.

One of the most popular ADU options is a garage conversion, which is turning an existing garage from a storage place for vehicles and other home goods, into living quarters. Garage conversion ADUs can be detached or an attached unit.

Benefits Of An ADU Attached to Your House

Homeowners construct attached ADUs for various reasons from maximizing the potential of their land to wanting privacy and comfort for future guests. As families grow, their housing needs change and lack of adequate space can create scores of home management and organization challenges.

Construction Costs

Attached ADUs are generally the more affordable option as they are being built off the existing foundation. This means shared walls and homeowners can even choose not to install a new bathroom, and share the ones within the primary residence.

Detached ADUs are generally built from scratch, meaning you will have to fork over the money to build a whole new independent housing structure. This means new bathroom and kitchen amenities that come with their own plumbing and electrical installations.

Housing Family Members

One of the most appealing advantages to homeowners is accommodating elderly parents or aging family members. Building a safe and secure haven for elderly parents and seniors who are independent or may need additional provided care, allows them their privacy while also being in close proximity to loved ones.

Families may also want to create new rooms for growing or adult children, maybe offering them their first starter home or home office space.

Rental Income

Many homeowners are looking to supplement their income by attracting tenants or paying guests. In recent years, homeowners have increasingly turned to property management and Airbnb to generate passive income streams through their primary residence.

Renters who cannot afford quality housing find the guest ADU-living situation more attractive over the staggering costs of renting and maintaining large apartments or homes.

Benefits To The Community

Constructing an accessory dwelling unit is a highly advantageous way to boost the ROIs and overall market value of your property. Experts observe that the benefits of building an ADU aren’t limited to homeowners undertaking the project, but they reflect on the entire community.

Constructing ADUs provides communities and neighborhoods with affordable housing options, which is imperative to maintain health and living standards for low-income families. Another community-centric advantage of constructing ADUs is the influx of property taxes that will improve the public education system for the entire community.

What To Factor In

While the benefits are compelling, they shouldn’t blind us to the costs of adding an ADU to your home’s existing structure. For instance, converting the garage or attic into an ADU results in a lack of storage space, which forces many homeowners to invest in storage units to declutter their homes.

It’s also crucial to consider the drawbacks of having tenants and paying guests living in your house. Despite the obvious loss of privacy, you will also have to take up the duties of a landlord and ensure your property is not used to commit any illegal or hazardous activity. One must also consider the costs of constructing a new ADU, ranging between $60,000 to $150,000.

Even if you plan a budget-friendly ADU construction project, like converting the basement or garage into a separate living unit, you will need an average budget of approximately $30,000.

Here are some more drawbacks of adding an ADU:

  • Ensuring regulatory compliance & obtaining permits
  • Setting up security infrastructure to protect the new structure
  • High property taxes for constructing additional units
  • Increased property maintenance costs

How Do I Start An ADU?

When it comes to building accessory dwelling units of any kind, you must find a local contractor that you can trust. This requires homeowners to do their due diligence and prioritize research to connect with a licensed, insured, and reputable builder. A reputable and reliable builder will handle every step of the process so you can sit back and focus on the design elements of your project.

ADU costs can vary widely depending on the type, size, design, location, amenities, and finishes you are looking to add. Make sure to schedule a consultation to get a free quote so that you can get a ballpark estimate for your specific needs.

At Build Method Construction, we are seasoned and committed contractors who walk our clients through the best ADU options for their property depending on their personal and financial goals. We assist with permits, structural upgrades, and other complexities when dealing with local laws and requirements throughout Los Angeles.