Unlocking the Potential of Your Property: All You Need to Know About Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are a great way to add extra living space to an existing home. ADUs are small, self-contained residences that can be constructed on a residential lot or attached to an existing structure. They offer a variety of benefits, such as additional living space for family members, increased rental income, and the ability for elderly family members to age in place. ADUs are generally easier and less expensive to build than traditional home construction projects, making them a great option for homeowners who don’t have the resources to take on a major project. With the right planning and design, ADUs can be a great addition to any residential property.

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a smaller, independent residential dwelling unit located on the same lot in your single-family home. ADUs can be built onto the existing structures, or they can be freestanding structures located on the same property as the main home. In order to be considered a legal ADU, it must have an entrance from the outside without passing through the main house, bedroom egress windows, and its own private kitchen and bathroom. ADUs are rapidly emerging as the go-to solution for those seeking a cost-effective and sensible way to expand their living spaces.

Image source: https://www.housable.com/california-statewide-adu-regulations

How can we know if Accessory Dwelling Units are allowed?

Any land in Massachusetts is controlled by Zoning Regulations, therefore altering an existing structure, and creating new structures on the lot is highly regulated by Zoning Ordinances for Each city or town. Zoning Ordinances control the location, size, and occupancy of ADUs. Many times local officials encourage building ADUs to encourage the creation of these units because they would like to help to reduce the housing shortage.

Benefits of owning an ADU

Accessory apartments are a great way to add much-needed affordable housing. ADU can provide versatile housing options to ensure that both homeowners and renters can access affordable accommodations regardless of their life stage. ADUs can offer flexibility and a range of housing options within a family residence:

1.    Low-Cost Housing for Elderly Family Members

A healthier and more cost-effective alternative to assisted living can be keeping your elderly family members close by in their own private space. Not only does this allow you to stay connected and actively involved in their day-to-day lives, but it also helps you monitor their health and well-being without having to bear the expense of a costly assisted living facility.

2.    Perfect Mixed-Use Space

As the COVID pandemic waned, many suburban dwellers sought additional places to break away from the everyday. Whether seeking a tranquil workspace, an indoor gym, or a room to pursue hobbies, they were met with a myriad of options, with the potential to turn any space into whatever they desire.

3.    Privacy for College Students/Adult Children

As rent costs continue to soar across the nation, and the much-anticipated reprieve from student loan debt appears to be far off, many parents are turning to the idea of providing a safe place for their young adult children to stay and get on their feet. By offering their children the freedom to start this next stage of their life without straying too far from home, this kind of housing solution can be incredibly beneficial.

4.    Source of Passive Income

Homeowners have the opportunity to give their ADU units an individual touch, creating spaces that are separate and distinct from the existing house. It’s a terrific way to provide your guests with their own private retreat, plus it could even generate a stream of passive income for your family. Private unit addition allows property owners can tap into a valuable source of additional income by renting out the space as an Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/2503). Furnished with their own entryway, personal kitchen, restroom, and sleeping quarters, these units make a great choice for any duration of stay, whether it’s a long or short-term rental.

5.    Increased Property Value

Building off of your existing footprint, or converting unused space has the ability to increase the home’s property and resale value. Why not take that unused space and convert it into a functional unit? Not only can it bring in a second source of income, but the options for the finished extra space are endless. Investing in renovating or building these units can pay off in the long run when looking to sell your home in the future.

Planning for Accessory Dwelling Units

Planning for an ADU involves several important steps. First, it is important to research local zoning regulations and requirements to ensure that the proposed ADU is allowed in your area. It is also important to consider the unit’s size, the property’s layout, and any potential design or aesthetic desires. Before reaching out to contractors owners need the help of an architect, you will be able to provide permit drawings for the owner who wants to receive the necessary permits. Once all of the relevant factors have been taken into consideration, it is time to explore financing alternatives such as loans to cover the ADU cost of building, or renovating. Lastly, it is essential to make a timeline and budget for the project, while keeping in mind additional expenditures that may arise when constructing an ADU.

How to Get Started Building Your Own ADU

The development of an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) is a complex process that should be undertaken with thought and care. It begins with planning, where the project’s goals are established and decisions are made on the location and size of the unit. Next comes design, where architectural plans are drawn up and approvals are obtained from local authorities. The building phase is then initiated, where the unit is constructed and fitted out with any necessary fixtures and finishes. Finally, the unit is completed and ready to be occupied or used for the intended purpose. No matter the scale of the project, it is important to have a detailed plan in place so that the development of an ADU can be successful.

Ready to enjoy your new space?

Let our gifted group of designers, architects, and contractors ease your anxieties and guide you on how to maximize the potential of your property. Contact a member of our team to learn more about getting started on your ADU construction and design today!