Picture It: Multiple generations living in close proximity. Grandparents get time with the grandchildren, and mom and dad can be there to support their parents as they get older. If you're worried that it could get very crowded, you should know that it doesn't have to be. In this vision, everyone has their own space. With an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), (commonly referred to as a casita in Arizona) you can have a smaller but functional home on your property. This allows you to keep family members close but retain the additional freedom you need to come and go as you please. If this sounds like the perfect solution for you, here are a few things you need to know.
What Is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?
You are probably familiar with plenty of living arrangements, but an ADU is a little different. Some people convert a basement into a separate apartment that they can use for a family member or rent out as an investment. An accessory dwelling unit is a separate living space on the same property. As a general rule, it has all the things that a regular house does:
- Sleeping areas, usually 1-2 bedrooms
- Full bathroom
- Kitchen or kitchenette
- Plumbing and heating
- Separate entrance
It may be attached to another outbuilding, like a garage. The rules for an ADU depend on the area. Some regions do not allow ADUs. Phoenix does in most cases, calling them a "guest house." If your property is large enough to support an ADU, there's a good chance that you can build one.
Why Do Homeowners Like ADUs?
Imagine having a separate living space on your property, for whatever purpose you deem appropriate. There are many benefits to building an ADU, including:
- Complete living spaces for family and friends who visit
- Long-term housing for aging parents or adult children
- Extra privacy while maintaining multi-generational living
- A place to live while you remodel or add on to your primary home
- Increase in property resale value
- In some areas, the ability to rent it out and collect income
Once it is complete, you have a lot of flexibility in determining how best to use it. And if you ever decide to sell, you will have made a significant investment.
What Counts as an ADU?
If you are thinking about building an ADU, you need to know what counts. This requires an understanding of the difference between an ADU, manufactured home and tiny home. Manufactured homes, sometimes called mobile homes, are prefabricated housing units that are shipped to the site and generally placed on a temporary foundation. In Phoenix, they generally must be kept in a mobile home park. Homeowners can request to have them placed on a regular lot, but they have to get approval. Tiny homes, which are also often built to be easy to relocate, tend to have the same limitations.
By comparison, an ADU must have a permanent foundation. Whether you are building it on top of your garage or creating its own dwelling, it cannot be something that you can load in whole onto a truck to move somewhere else. This is why most ADUs are stick-built, and why most tiny homes or manufactured homes wouldn't qualify.
What's the Difference Between an ADU and Mother-in-Law Suite?
If ADUs and mother-in-law suites seem very similar, it is because they are. Unlike ADUs, which have a clearly-defined set of rules that people have to follow in their construction and use, there isn't a lot of definition for mother-in-law suites. In essence, these are housing units that are designed to provide a layer of separation. It may or may not be completely separate, with its own entrance. Both of these remodeling projects provide a viable opportunity for homeowners, because they create additional living space that could be divided from the primary residence.
How Does an ADU Affect Home Value?
When you think about the investment, the cost of building an ADU and the potential increase in resale value is worth considering. Building any addition to your home of a significant size can cost $100,000 or more. Once you factor in the need to construct a kitchen and bathroom, which an ADU must have, you may spend as much as $200,000 or more. However, as one of the latest trends in building, you can usually expect a reasonable increase in resale value.
Many experts say that you should get at least 50 percent of what you pay in a higher property value. In some cases, especially in areas where ADUs are in high demand, you might get 75 percent or more. It depends on the size of the space and how you build it, so hiring a professional to help you design it and complete the work is crucial.
When Should You Consider Building an ADU?
Almost any property could benefit from adding an ADU. The extra space gives you so much versatility that you can really do virtually anything with it. Here are a few reasons to consider building an ADU on your property:
- You have aging parents who need to live close to you
- You have adult children or grandchildren who live with you and need their own space
- You are planning to age in place
- You want to downsize as you get older without having to move
- You need an additional living space for work or hobbies
- You're considering various options for rental spaces
Even if you just want to sell your home in a few years, this might be a good way to dramatically expand the pool of interested buyers. The potential for rental income can significantly increase a property's sale price.
Everyone enjoys a little privacy. Lots of people need to keep their family members within a quick walking distance, but they would also like to keep their own spaces. Building an accessory dwelling unit is a great way to ensure that you can solve both problems and keep everyone content.
To get the best investment for your money, it's best to start with the experts at Hochuli Design and Remodeling Team. Our experience with custom building and remodeling can help you get an ADU that complements your property and provides the extra space you sorely need. To discover what we can do for you or request a consultation about your project, contact us today.