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  • Writer's pictureAEC Moreno Corp


It's no secret that America's affordable housing prices are scarce and that people are looking for viable solutions. The ADU, also known as an accessory dwelling unit, is a small unit that can function as a full guest apartment to a yoga studio, as an additional bedroom or a home office, the applications can be various.

But what exactly is an ADU? An accessory dwelling unit, generally abbreviated as ADU, is a secondary dwelling unit on a single-family residential lot. The term "accessory housing unit" is a name that sounds institutional, but it is the term most used throughout the country to describe this type of housing. Average ADU square feet can range from 600 square feet to 1,200 square feet, depending on the state and county, and most of the time it will have its own kitchen or kitchenette, living room, and a separate entrance, making it ideal.

States like California and Vermont have begun to see the many benefits of ADUs: their efficient use of residential areas, contribution to the affordable housing pool, and provisions for additional income for homeowners, as a example is the city of Los Angeles, these factors they have been combined with the passage of legislation in recent years that allows ADUs on properties that are zoned for single-family homes.

Types ADUS 

To better describe the types of adus, we will explain it with images that exemplify the different types of unit.

  1. Newly built freestanding ADUs, also called backyard cabins, granny apartments, alley houses, or DADUs, depending on the jurisdiction.

  1. Garage conversion ADU

  1. ADU on top of or attached to a garage or workshop. In some areas, these may be called garage apartments or carports.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Building Accessory Housing Units.

Although there are many people who build accessory housing units to house their family members, many others do it to earn extra rental income. This is a smart investment but it varies from owner to owner, depending on a number of factors including local zoning ordinances, upfront costs and ongoing maintenance costs, potential tax consequences, and activity in the general housing and rental market.

Investors should first investigate whether building an ADU on their property is legal. If one builds an illegal ADU, there can be problems if a homeowner has to refinance the property. Building an unauthorized ADU can also lead to potential code enforcement actions resulting in fines. Homeowners should consult their zoning ordinances and possibly consult with an attorney who specializes in this area.

Then there is the question of costs. Will the ADU be attached to the owner's home or will it be separate, as in the case of a garage? What renovations will be necessary and will the owner have to seek professional services from construction contractors, engineers or surveyors? The most efficient method of financing an ADU also varies depending on the individual situation of the owner. Options include taking out a renovation loan, refinancing if you have the equity in your home, or taking out of available cash on hand.


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