If you haven’t heard of them yet, you will soon. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are rapidly becoming a household name in cities that allow them (i.e., Salt Lake City, North Salt Lake City, Bountiful City, Woods Cross, San Francisco, Portland, etc.) and buzzing in other cities that want them. One state that is clearly taking note is Utah.
According to an article on UtahBusiness, “After nearly a decade in the works, Salt Lake City has finally joined many other cities passing new accessory dwelling unit (ADU) housing ordinances. That ordinance means that local residents can now build smaller accessory residential units—oftentimes referred to as granny flats, mother-in-law apartments, or tiny homes—on their properties.” Great news for sure.
With the housing industry crisis and fewer areas to build new homes, the popularity of vacation rental sites such as Airbnb, and more and more people looking for ways to make extra money, ADUs are becoming increasingly popular. They seem to be fueled by millennials who are finding creative ways to earn extra money by adding an ADU to their current homes. But millennials aren’t the only ones taking interest. It’s just as appealing to others including baby boomers who are in the grips of retirement planning. Truly anyone who wants to generate more income, save for retirement, have an investment property, have a way to care for aging parents or assist their children with affordable housing options, are eager to invest.
So what is an ADU? ADUs are secondary housing units that are legally a part of the same property as the main home regardless of its physical form. ADUs don’t have to be a standalone structures. They can be an extension to the main house or on top of an existing garage for example.
Let’s break down some ADU options:
- A separate attachment of varying sizes. From smaller units that can be perfect for an Airbnb to one to three bedroom apartments, there’s something to fit everyone’s needs. These can be perfect for starter homes, at-home caregiver residences, age in place alternatives, or rental producing properties. The size varies according to what you hope to accomplish with your ADU.
- A tiny house although it should be noted not all tiny homes are ADUs
- A basement apartment, a garage apartment, etc. Many of these don’t require a lot in the way of building them.
Now there are some legalities for an ADU that need to be considered. Here are the main ones: An ADU is legally a part of the same property as the main home. The ADU and home cannot be bought or sold separately. The owner of the main home is also the owner of the ADU. They cannot be separated as a whole legally.
ADUs are definitely the wave of the future. Just take a look at California. They have become so popular that California housing legislation is seeking to make it easier to build ADUs by easing up on some of the legalities and restrictions, therefore streamlining the ADU application process and limiting fees.
When deciding on whether an ADU is for you or not, consider what your needs are and also look for companies that will help you every step of the way. Keep in mind that an ADU is an investment and investments are made with the clear intention to bring future benefits. ADU success is much more than just putting a second living space on a property. Success will be created from the plan and management of this asset over many years to come. There are a few companies that not only help with building the ADU, but are available to answer all your questions moving forward and work with you through the entire process. Those are the ones that provide the best value and should be considered when you are ready to make your move.