The popularity of California’s most desirable areas can come with a downside for homeowners—when their family’s needs outgrow the living space of their current home, high real estate prices and a shortage of available housing can make relocating impossible. However, changing laws in California have made it easier for owners of residential property to find a new solution: building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). These residential structures, which include permanent provisions for living, cooking, sleeping, and sanitation, are situated on the same parcel of land as a single-family dwelling and provide a way for homeowners to add valuable square footage to their existing property.
Updated regulations for ADUs in California recognize the urgent need for more housing in the areas where people want to live and work. Whether homeowners choose to take advantage of this new alternative for their personal use, to provide living space for family members, or to bring in additional income as a short- or long-term rental unit, there are many potential benefits to constructing a detached or attached ADU. These include:
More room at lower cost: Converting an existing structure to an ADU on property you already own, such as a detached or attached garage, or even building a new structure, is considerably less expensive than purchasing a new home or new property. While the overall cost of an ADU can vary depending on the design and construction details, not having to factor in the cost of investing in additional land is a considerable savings. That increased square footage can make your primary dwelling more livable by creating space for a work-at-home office, a studio for teaching or consultation with clients, guest quarters for visiting family or friends, or a dedicated workout room.
Potential rental unit for income: Some homeowners who elect to build an ADU do it to generate passive income from the property they already have. Because these units have a separate entrance and amenities such as a kitchen and bathroom, they offer tenants (and homeowners) privacy while creating a reliable revenue stream. Property owners should familiarize themselves with the potential restrictions on short-term rental versus long-term rental of ADUs, as there may be prohibitions on short-term rentals depending on your location or the type of unit.
Affordable housing alternatives for adult children or aging parents: Expensive housing can be a challenge for families with college graduates moving back home or grandparents who need a little more assistance but who don’t want to fully give up their independence. In either case, an ADU can be the solution that preserves family harmony without breaking the bank. For adult children, they can enjoy the privacy of having their own space while getting relief from market-rate rent. For grandparents, the entire family can have the comfort and convenience of daily contact in case help is needed, while giving elderly relatives the dignity of independent living at a much lower cost than an assisted living facility.
Increased property value: While an ADU can’t be bought or sold separately from the primary property it’s located on, it does increase the overall resale value of your home. In fact, recent studies estimated that an ADU could add an average of 51% to a home’s resale price. Given that an ADU adds both to the square footage of your home and to the flexibility of how your property can be used, it’s no wonder prospective buyers would consider one an advantage worth paying extra for.
Executing Your Architect’s Plan
If you have approved architectural ADU plans and now need to turn that vision into reality, you need an experienced contractor and project manager who can effectively bring your project in on time and within budget. Bay Area–based Hometelligent has decades of experience in navigating California’s stringent requirements and zoning regulations, and we place the highest value on top-quality work, clear communication, and reliable follow-through. Our job is to smoothly manage your construction project so you can focus on your daily life. To find out more about how Hometelligent can help with your ADU project, contact us here.
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