Is an Accessory Dwelling Unit Right for You?

As a homeowner, you may be considering adding an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to your property: either inside your current home, as an addition to your existing home, or as a free-standing building. How can you determine if this is the right move for you?

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Research ADU regulations

Determine if your area is ADU-friendly by visiting your city’s planning and zoning website, or by calling or visiting the local office. Some areas encourage ADUs and others don’t. Even if your city’s regulations seem to discourage ADU construction, you may be able to secure a waiver to build one. Ask.

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Do a cost evaluation

If you want an ADU to bring in rental income, be sure to look at the total cost for permits, construction, and the increase in annual property taxes. Compare this to the monthly income you expect to receive to determine how long it will take for the ADU to pay for itself before you realize any income.

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Talk to your real estate specialist

An accessory dwelling unit may be exactly what you need. For additional perspectives, talk to an SRES® in your area to help you determine if this is a good option for you!

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Consider your lifestyle and needs

Privacy vs. Company. If you are a private person, having a renter on your property may present difficulties. However, if you are looking for more social interaction, finding the right renter may be just what you need.

Assistance. If you have special needs, consider trading maintenance, cleaning, or personal services for part or all of the rent on your ADU. It may be an economical way to retain your independence, even with physical limitations.

Aging in Place. If you want to age in place, an ADU built with universal design concepts may help you stay on your property, while simultaneously improving your financial situation. You could rent out the house that is too large or unsuitable for aging in place, while staying in the neighborhood you know and love.

Adult Children. If you have adult children who have returned home to live with you, an ADU may be an economical way to keep your children (and possibly grandchildren) close, while maintaining privacy for you and for them.

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Susie Foote

Broker Associate

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