trees beside white house

What Is an ADU?

trees beside white houseAn ADU, accessory dwelling unit, is a smaller, secondary residential dwelling that shares a lot with a primary home. They can be a stand-alone unit or attached to your home or garage. In the U.S. they go by multiple names such as:

  • Accessory apartment
  • Back house
  • Carriage house
  • Coach house
  • Granny flats
  • Guest house
  • Secondary dwelling unit
  • Secondary suites

No matter what you call it, an accessory dwelling unit is essentially a smaller home on the same property as your main home.

Different Types of ADUs

If you are looking to build an ADU, you should be aware of the different guidelines and types to choose from. The four types of ADUs are:

  • Attached ADU
  • Detached ADU
  • Garage ADU
  • Internal ADU

Attached ADUs are attached to the primary home whereas detached ADUs are not. An internal ADU is within the home while a garage ADU is when a garage is converted into one.

Why Build An ADU?

Many people build ADUs to have either their family members live in them or to make extra cash off by renting them out. However, whether building one to rent out will be beneficial or not for you depends on a few factors including:

  • Local zoning ordinances
  • Maintenance costs
  • Tax consequences
  • Upfront costs

If the profits of renting the ADU do not exceed these costs, it may not be worth building.

Are ADUs Legal in All U.S. States?

Not all U.S. states have legalized ADUs. Therefore, it is imperative that you look into your specific states/cities regulations before building one.

For example, states like California and Washington have cities that allow ADUs while other states like New York do not but are considering legalizing them.

Pay Attention to Zoning Laws

When considering constructing an ADU, you need to pay close attention to your areas zoning laws, as these will dictate different aspects of your ADU such as:

  • Electricity
  • Interior design
  • Size
  • Style
  • Utilities

Due to this, before you start planning out your ideal ADU, you should make sure your city allows for the different aspects you want it to include.