Accessory dwelling units (ADUs), also commonly referred to as secondary units, in-law suites, granny flats, cottages, guesthouses, and garage apartments, are just a few of the many terms associated with an accessory to a primary residence. ADUs can be anything from a suite above a detached garage, a suite above or below the main residence, or simply a suite attached or detached to or from the main dwelling. In general, they usually have their own entrance, living space, kitchen, and bathroom. Sometimes even a garage or carport may be included. Regardless of their physical structure, size, or layout, the ADU has become a valuable resource for homeowners alike.
Adding an ADU to your primary residence or backyard is certainly not for everyone, but a world of opportunity awaits the savvy homeowner who is willing to trade a tiny bit of privacy and space to open up a lifestyle that is oriented around family, friends, and financial freedom. Let’s discuss a few of the benefits of implementing them and why ADUs are gaining popularity with homeowners today.
"A world of opportunity awaits the savvy homeowner who is willing to trade a tiny bit of privacy and space to open up a lifestyle that is oriented around family, friends, and financial freedom"
First of all, adding an ADU to your property opens up a number of possibilities that are all centered on the family. In one scenario an ADU is the perfect solution to remaining closer to aging parents without the added expense of finding a home nearby to care for them. Other scenarios include parents with adult children that are in need of support and a place to stay while changing careers or re-locating. A tenant may also provide a service such as working the property and/or providing care for a loved one at the same time. An ADU can also provide much-needed storage. This ultimately frees up the garage for Dad, which is always a good thing. And for the career-minded individual, opening up a home office can be a very desirable option for the family as well. A businessperson with a home office may shorten his or her commute in order to spend more time with family members and less time sitting in traffic. Whatever the scenario may be, the family is always the biggest recipient of an ADU because it brings them closer together in times of need and plenty.
Secondly, adding an ADU to an existing residence or property opens up a world of opportunity for entertaining out-of-town guests and friends. Whether your small gathering is centered on the holidays, a special life event, or even a last-minute arrangement, an ADU provides homeowners with the opportunity to invite relatives and out-of-town friends for long periods of stay, relaxation, and enjoyment. All of which translates into more flexibility with varying schedules and more quality time together reminiscing, catching up on lost time, and creating new memories.
Lastly, adding an ADU to an existing residence or property offers homeowners financial freedom and peace of mind. Such a venture provides homeowners with steady rental income, savings, and home appreciation. An ADU offers homeowners economic security with the added income needed to offset the bills, pay the mortgage, save for retirement, start a family, or save up for that new vehicle they’ve had their eyes on. An ADU can function as a home office space or workshop, opening up the freedom to establish set hours and eliminate the time and resources spent commuting to that leased office space. Interestingly enough, studies suggest that the majority of homeowners generally see their homes appreciate in value as much as 50% with an added ADU. And with the right architect, creating an energy-efficient ADU utilizing green materials will ultimately lead to a richer, healthier, and sustainable environment.
I know multiple homeowners who have successfully made this transition, and all of them attest to increased property values, steady income streams, flexibility, and the opportunity and blessing of sharing their lives with others. Moreover, they had the opportunity to express who they are and what they are all about through the process of designing and creating their own unique space. An ADU is a resource that ultimately creates financial independence, but it’s also about community, compassion, and love that can bless your family for generations to come.
I submit that it’s time for homeowners to consider all the potential and opportunity that awaits them in their own backyard. It could mean recreating a lifestyle that is more oriented around family, friends, and financial freedom.
GFH Architecture, planning and graphics has over 30 years of design experience and expertise specializing in custom residential and accessory dwelling units throughout California and the Central Coast. If you’re considering the idea of adding an ADU to your primary residence or property, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We can help you create your next cost-effective design with our in-house experts and our wide-range consultant base. Regardless of the scale or type of project, our enthusiasm remains. Space matters. Let us help you design yours.
GFH recently designed an ADU unit featuring a two-car garage in Santa Cruz.
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