When you have more than one living space on a single-family property, the additional space is called an accessory dwelling or an ADU. These units can offer many benefits to homeowners, but they also provide some risks and may not be available for every property. Considering these things before adding to your home or renovating it for an ADU is essential to avoid potential legal trouble.

What Are the Benefits?

Some benefits of accessory dwelling units include additional income for the homeowner, having family close and an increase in home value. For many modern families, it is prohibitively expensive for adult children to purchase their own home or move out, so putting an ADU on the family property can provide separate living spaces for the parents, adult children, and even grandchildren without the expense of buying or renting an additional property. The homeowner can also rent this space out to generate income or list the property for a higher price when it is time to sell.

What Are the Risks?

The most significant risks for adding an ADU to your property come from increased costs and less privacy. You will need more insurance and a bigger maintenance budget with two living spaces. If you are renting to strangers, you will also have to deal with collecting rent, differing schedules and shared walls. 

Who Can Build One?

Since ADUs are relatively new in some areas, the zoning laws may not have caught up to the fad, and pulling permits for the project can be difficult. It is essential to determine your area’s zoning and building codes to see the scope of this type of project and whether it is allowed for your area.

Adding a dwelling unit can offer you many benefits. Still, it is essential to determine whether the zoning laws allow for this addition and to consider the potential risks you will face. An increase in income from renting your ADU or saving on housing costs by having multiple generations of a family on the same property will be offset by less privacy and more maintenance costs.

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