What do you do if your loved one needs a place to stay? You provide them with somewhere to relax. When they need a residence, you go above and beyond to ensure that they have one.

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are a type of housing that is often not well understood. Accessory dwelling units are perfect for families looking to provide an affordable, realistic housing option that will help their loved ones thrive.

If you’re thinking about building an accessory dwelling unit, it pays to be prepared. Here’s a practical guide for ADUs that will walk you through all of these important points and major steps to build them successfully.

 

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

An accessory dwelling unit is a small apartment or house attached to, but separate from the main home on your property. A garage can also be converted into an ADU, and this is often referred to as a granny flat.

Accessory Dwelling Units: A Solution for Aging Loved Ones

As people age, they may become more dependent upon their loved ones and need some help around the house to stay safe and secure. Providing them with an affordable housing option that suits their needs will ensure that they have opportunities to explore new hobbies, enjoy time with friends and family members without sacrificing too much of their independence. Here are some examples of things to consider for the elderly:

  • Transportation Assistance
  • A doctor’s appointment
  • A grocery store run
  • A trip to a park or museum

By providing an accessory dwelling unit, you’ll ensure that your loved ones have a safe place to live without sacrificing too much of their independence. You can even provide them with transportation so they don’t need to drive anymore.

An Accessory Dwelling Unit as Independent Living Option

There are many reasons why building an ADU is becoming such a popular choice among aging adults and caretakers alike. It might be the perfect solution for those who would like to help their aging family members find affordable housing while maintaining their independence.  Not only is building an ADU a practical solution for aging adults and caretakers, but it is also becoming increasingly popular among property owners who want to maximize the use of their land. A family member with young children might be looking to build a larger home that accommodates everyone in future years, or perhaps your property value may increase if you are allowed to add another unit on the lot without taking away from its current tax assessment.

  • A practical solution for aging adults and caretakers
  • Excellent choice for families looking to maximize land use
  • Can increase the size of your home in the future
  • Allows for flexible living arrangements
  • allows families to grow together
  • Enables urban density without sacrificing family life
  • Family-friendly designs can be used in any type of home

However they choose to do so, many homeowners are finding success by converting existing space into accessory dwelling units (ADUs) – either adding one as part of a new construction or adding onto an existing structure like a garage or shed.

What Do You Need? 

A Structural Foundation Ready for a New Unit

What do you need in terms of structural foundation? If your property has the space, it’s possible to build an ADU as part of new construction. For example, this type might be considered “infill housing” – which is any development that occurs within a built-up area rather than on empty land. In most cases, infill units are created by converting existing structures like garages into living spaces with their oneskitchenettes and bathrooms. However, if there is not enough room for a new building, you might consider converting your existing garage into an ADU.

A Design That Suits Your Landscape

One of the most important aspects of designing accessory dwelling units is ensuring that they fit in with their surroundings – both for aesthetic reasons as well as to avoid any potential conflicts or issues. You will need to take a close look at how these structures will be used from day to day by family members who live nearby before choosing what style best suits them. This could mean anything from adding solar panels, using eco-friendly materials like bamboo flooring or cork tiles, installing energy-efficient appliances including tankless water heaters.

A Legal and Permitted Space

If you are looking into converting an existing structure to create your ADU, then chances are that it’s already permitted. However, if the space is currently part of your garage or storage shed, for example, then you may need to apply for a building permit before beginning construction.

 

An Electrical Plan

No matter what kind of design you end up choosing for your accessory dwelling unit (ADU), there are many aspects involved in ensuring that they meet safety standards as well as provide comfort year-round. You’ll want to make sure that any electrical wiring used throughout the home meets local codes – including outlets with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to prevent electrocution, as well as smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms installed throughout the space.

A Safe Water Supply

If needed, having access to water is another crucial part of making sure accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are both safe and comfortable. You’ll want to make sure that there’s enough water pressure from any nearby water sources to meet the demands of your home – including for taking long showers or using multiple appliances at once. And if you’re building an ADU, don’t forget that any fixtures need proper drainage. Not only is it important to consider where wastewater will go after being used in bathrooms and kitchens but also how sewage from toilets can be channeled away without contaminating nearby groundwater.

A heating or cooling solution

It is also important to consider how you’ll keep your ADU warm during the winter months – whether it involves installing a wood stove or fireplace, using stand-alone electric heaters for each room, designing ductwork within the structure itself so that central air conditioning can be used in summer.

Access to Utilities

If needed, having access to water is another crucial part of making sure accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are both safe and comfortable. You’ll want to make sure that there is enough water pressure from any nearby water sources to meet the demands of your home – including for taking long showers or using multiple appliances at once.

A Drainage System

If you are building an ADU, don’t forget that any fixtures need proper drainage. Not only is it important to consider where wastewater will go after being used in bathrooms and kitchens but also how sewage from toilets can be channeled away without contaminating nearby groundwater. A drainage system will help prevent any potential problems in the future.

Types of ADUs:

1. Detached ADU

An independent structure that has complete amenities and is separated from the main house.

2. Garage Conversion

An extension of an existing garage or structure that has all the features.

3. Attached ADU

A second home, which is linked to the main dwelling and has full facilities.

4. Interior Conversion

Also known as Junior ADUs are smaller, separated dwellings built inside the primary house.

Reasons for Building an ADU

An ADU is a great way to make your home more valuable. One of the most important reasons to construct an ADU is the potential increase in property value it will provide you, which may save you a lot of money over time. You will finally be able to break away from renting if you build an ADU on your lot and then rent out that unit separately with its own entrance, kitchenettes/kitchens & bathrooms. This gives renters their privacy while still allowing them easy access to all of your amenities. Plus, they are usually much cheaper than traditional apartments.

An ADU is a great way to make your home more valuable. One of the most important reasons to construct an ADU is the potential increase in property value it will provide you, which may save you a lot of money over time.

Consider the Kind of ADU

It is important to consider the kind of ADU that will work best for your loved one. If your loved one has little or no mobility, an ADU with steps, a loft conversion, or a basement/attic conversion may be inaccessible to them. An attic or basement conversion is often enough to drive everyone up the walls, but if your loved one has their own family an extra room might be what they need. If you have a loved one who needs in-home care, it’s important to find the right type of unit for them so that their needs can be met while also maintaining easy access.

Take a look at your property

The type of ADU available to you may depend on the size and location of your property.

ADUs are a great way to add on extra space that can be used for anything from storage, guest suites, and more. Single-family homes allow one ADU with restrictions while multi-family residences may have two detached units subject to certain limitations in size. This will be determined by the amount of space you have available.

The keys to making the right decision for your loved ones are balancing what they need with how much property you have.

Take into account any special needs

Think about what you need to do for your loved one’s living situation to be as comfortable and safe.

You must listen to what your loved one wants. If in doubt, talk with them about their needs and see how we can make the ADU a haven for them where they will be able to thrive.

Consider the Cost

You may begin to consider the expense of creating your ADU from there. There are a few financing options available for construction projects that will depend on what type and how much investment is required by homeowners wanting an Addition or Attached Dwelling Unit (ADU).

The Building Process

Once you’ve found the right builder for your needs, they can start to explain what will happen during each stage of the building.

Checklist for ADUs The ADU Universal Checklist

To ensure compliance with local and state codes. A few things to check include:

  • Aesthetics (interior/exterior)
  • Parking Availability & Convenience for Guests or Relatives Living in the ADU
  • ADA Compliance
  • Number of Bedrooms, Baths, and SqFt per Unit Requirements

The Permit Process and Submittal Package

You can submit your ADU package, and it’s important to have the appropriate letters from water companies. Your builder will help you get them. Construction begins once the plans and permits are submitted. You can then start construction with your builder, who will get you well on the way to providing a cherished home for loved ones.

Are You Planning an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) But Don’t Know Who to Trust?

Get started on your dream ADU today! New Key Construction, based in Walnut Creek California, specializes in spectacular accessory dwelling units. Our passion is to be the home for talented craftsmen who deliver beautiful projects to clients throughout the Contra Costa County region! Need a solution for your in-laws, long-term guests, or a growing family? ADUs have become the go-to popular solution for families throughout Contra Costa County! An ADU is also known as an in-law house, backyard house, guest house, or casita; basically a small home that can be built on the same lot alongside another, larger single-family home.  Ready to get started? Check out our website, our portfolio and our reviews to learn more – or give us a call to start your project today.