Is an Accessory Dwelling Unit Right for You

Would you like to entertain family and friends more often but don’t have the extra bedroom space in your home? Maybe you love having big family gatherings around the holidays but the same reason prevents you from doing it. One way that people who are in that situation solve it in a relatively inexpensive manner is to add an accessory dwelling on their property. It’s a great way to entertain family and friends and it even allows you to maintain your own privacy at the same time.

There are also many other reasons why people want accessory dwellings on their property. We will discuss several of them in this article. The more information you have on accessory dwellings (ADU) the easier it will be to decide if one is right for you. They really do have some great benefits if you find yourself in a situation where it’s prudent for you to have an accessory dwelling.

What Exactly Is An Accessory Dwelling Unit?

Accessory dwellings are not a new concept by any means. As a matter of fact, you will often find accessory dwellings on some of the oldest farmhouses and rural dwellings all across the country. Accessory dwellings go by many other names, too. You will hear them called such things as granny flats, in-law units, mother-in-law apartments, secondary dwellings, guesthouses and many other names.

One thing that stands out about accessory dwelling units is that a majority of the time they are not attached to the main house on the property. Some people consider finished basements a secondary dwelling but we are not in agreement with that (The lone exception to that is a finished basement with only private entrances). It can be such things as a small home on the same property as your house or a finished apartment built over a detached garage.

Good Reasons for Building an Accessory Dwelling

Here are some of the main reasons why people choose to have an accessory dwelling:

• You like to have overnight guests yet still maintain privacy

There is no more convenient way to host out of town guests than if you have an ADU on your property. It’s almost like having your own little hotel right next to your home. Your guests will love it and you will keep your privacy even while you are hosting them.

• To keep a close eye on someone yet let them still have some freedom

This is where the term mother-in-law apartment comes into play. Accessory dwellings are often used for children to keep an eye on their aging parents while still giving them a sense of freedom.

• It can be used as a rental for extra income

This is one of the main reasons why people want to have an ADU on their property. The thing is you have to do some research before you add a secondary dwelling for this purpose. Because of zoning and other ordinances it’s not always possible to do this legally. So check around and find this out before you commit to building an accessory dwelling for this reason.

• You want separate living space for domestic helpers

If you employ maids, cooks or other types of domestic helpers you may need to house them but don’t want to do it under your roof. When that’s the case a secondary dwelling makes perfect sense. It also gives those domestic helpers a little privacy of their own.

• An accessory dwelling can be used as a retreat

Maybe someone in your family is a writer, draftsman, engineer or other professional that needs some quiet time away from the children and pets. A secondary dwelling is a great way to get that private time without actually leaving home.

• You no longer need all the space in your large home and want to rent it out without moving

Many people move into their ADU’s after their children have grown up and moved away because they don’t need so much space. They then often rent out their main home as a source of extra income.

How Much Does A Secondary Dwelling Cost?

This is an extremely difficult question to answer. The reason for that is because every situation is a little bit different as far as what a homeowner hopes to accomplish with their secondary dwelling. For example: building a small house from the ground up is much more expensive than it is to renovate an existing detached garage. Such things as how fancy you want your ADU to be also play a role in the cost to make it. The more bells and whistles a secondary dwelling has obviously the more it will cost to build.

One of the best ways to find out how much the accessory dwelling you have in mind will cost is to meet with a building or renovations company that specializes in them. Reputable companies such as Evergreen Renovations & Roofing in the Beaverton/Portland Metro area of Oregon will listen to your ideas on what you want in the form of an ADU and then write you up a detailed estimate as to what it will cost you to accomplish that project.

An ADU Just May Be the Perfect Solution for Any Living Space Dilemma

Without a doubt there are situations in your life where an accessory dwelling is the ideal way to meet your extra living space needs. It may be your solution to such things as the extra long-term income you need or a place to keep your aging parents without having to place them in a nursing home. The reasons are many and varied but none are less important than the others.

As was mentioned, the best place to start is to take your idea to a renovations or general contractor and let them add their professional opinion to what you are trying to accomplish with your new ADU. With their help you should be able to find an acceptable secondary dwelling solution that not only meets your needs but also meets your budgeting requirements.

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