Many homeowners are looking for ways to make extra income and the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a great way to generate some. An ADU is any dwelling unit, such as an apartment or other living space, that is accessory to their primary residence. The Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) can be used by family members, renters, and even Airbnb guests. Here is what the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is all about, what it can offer you and how you should go about building one. 

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

Accessory Dwelling Units are small apartments or cottages that can be either attached to your single-family home, detached in their building, or built into the main dwelling’s backyard. Accessory Dwelling Units may be rented out as long-term accommodations, but they must remain secondary units and cannot become primary residences themselves.  Accessory Dwelling Units are also known as Accessory Apartments, Granny Cottages, Second Suites, and Guest Houses.  

The primary house and secondary residence are located on the same property, but they are separated by a self-contained home that has its entrance, a full kitchen, and bath, as well as living and sleeping space. There are four types of ADUs:

  1. Detached ADU: A separate structure on its own away from the main house. This is frequently a tiny cottage or an apartment built above or linked to the garage.
  2. Attached ADU: A secondary dwelling connected to the main house. These units are frequently accessed via a separate entrance on the side or back of the property.
  3. Interior ADU: A self-contained apartment built within the main structure, often an attic or basement suite. Although converting an existing area to fulfill needs is most typical, some interior ADU projects go above and beyond by raising a home or digging deeper below it to accommodate taller ceilings and more natural light.
  4. Garage conversion – Garage conversions may be connected or disconnected, depending on your garage. The objective is what it sounds like: a garage converted into a full apartment unit. You may not need to replace the lost parking because of new reduced parking demands.

What are the benefits of an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

Accessory Dwelling Units can provide your family with additional rental income or a place for aging parents to live near you so they don’t have to move into assisted living or long-term care facilities. You may also want to build an Accessory Dwelling Unit on your property in case there is ever a need for more space for yourself, your children, or your grandchildren during special occasions.

  • Build a home for aging parents or grandparents
  • Great rental income opportunity
  • Extra space for family gatherings
  • Perfect temporary housing solution

Who needs an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit might be right for anyone who wants their guests or relatives to have their own private space. Accessory Dwelling Units are also popular with older homeowners who want help maintaining their property but don’t require assisted living or nursing home care, and people who want an easy way to generate rental income from a second suite to pay off the mortgage faster.

What makes the Accessory Dwelling Unit different from other home additions?

Accessory Dwelling Units must be smaller than your primary residence because they can only include one kitchen, one bathroom, and up to three bedrooms. They cannot exceed 800 square feet of total floor area including all rooms on both floors (including basements) as well as any porches that may exist outside those rooms. Accessory Dwellings do not count towards height limits on your property, so Accessory Dwellings can be built up to the average height of other homes on your street.

How do Accessory Dwelling Units affect my neighborhood?

Accessory Dwelling Units must conform with zoning restrictions in terms of building coverage, setbacks, and lot area per dwelling unit ratios just like any single-family home. Plus they need their own off-street parking spaces for visitors or tenants who will use them at least one day a week. Homes that already have an existing accessory apartment are allowed to expand units by 50% of original size before becoming subject to land use regulations (zoning) Again Accessory Dwellings cannot become primary residences themselves even if rented out more than half the time; only residents listed on the title of the property are allowed to live there. Accessory Dwellings can be built on any lot in your neighborhood, but you will need an Accessory Dwelling Permit if it is within a historic district or overlay zone as well as for properties designated as “Neighborhood Conservation Areas” by their municipality.

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.