What's an ADU?

By Samuel Schneider

Blog Subtitle

01.14.2021

What's an ADU (and why would I want one)?

Good question! First off, ADU stands for Accessory Dwelling Unit. ADUs go by many other names--additional dwelling units, granny flats, laneway houses, and in-law units, to name a few. But whatever you call it, an ADU is a small additional dwelling on the same property as an existing single-family residential house. Common types of ADUs include basement apartments, over-garage apartments, converted garages, and freestanding tiny homes. That’s the other thing you need to know about ADUs: they’re often small and compact, designed to efficiently make the most of their limited square footage.

There are a whole host of reasons to consider building an ADU on your property! Here are some of the big ones.

Make money now!

You can rent out your ADU for some extra cash (up to $30k a year), fulfilling the ultimate American dream: passive income! And in addition to the monthly rent you’ll collect, adding an ADU significantly increases your property’s value (by an average of $158,000!). It’s a solid investment that only gets better over time. The options aren’t limited to residences, either; ADUs make great offices, home gyms, screening rooms, meditation/yoga spaces...the possibilities are endless!

Prepare for the future

ADUs are easy to navigate and maintain, making them make ideal living spaces for the elderly. Homestead conducts independent research and consults leading experts on aging in order to design the perfect ADU for seniors. Prepare for your own downsizing, or offer your older parents a backyard ADU as an alternative to assisted living.

Better for the environment

If you’re trying to watch your carbon footprint, the best solution is a converted ADU. It’s significantly less taxing on the environment to reuse an existing structure than to build a new one. And ADUs have an overall environmental impact that is about 50% lower than that of a standard-size house. Plus, when renters can afford to live close to where they work, they can walk or bike rather than drive (cutting down on greenhouse emissions and traffic congestion).

Helps with the housing crisis while reducing gentrification

Many American cities face housing crises, Los Angeles included. Traditional affordable housing is expensive to build, and it can be difficult to find the space for new buildings. The solution? ADUs! New developments for affordable housing cost about $625,000 per unit. The cost to convert a garage into a comparable ADU unit can be as low as $100,000. Did you know there are over x million garages in Southern California? Converting only 30% of these garages into ADUs would alleviate the housing crisis!

And unlike other forms of housing, garage conversions don’t displace people; only cars and old holiday decorations. Adding ADUs brings in more residents without drastically altering the look and feel of a neighborhood. Because they’re built on the same property as pre-existing homes, ADUs reduce urban sprawl and create density while maintaining privacy. And converting a garage into a rental unit helps homeowners stay in the communities they love, as the steady income they receive in rent can be put towards their mortgage payments. It’s good for the renters, too: ADUs allow renters to live in desirable neighborhoods for affordable prices. A true win-win.

Now that you have the lowdown on ADUs, book a free consultation with Homestead today and find out how to make your garage work for you.

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About The Author

Sam is a graduate of MIT's School of Architecture and Planning. He became fascinated with ADUs in 2017 when he realized that they were the fastest solution to California's housing crisis. Now, Sam is focused on helping Los Angeles homeowners add ADUs through his work with Homestead.

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