The comeback of the accessory dwelling unit and why you may need one 

What is an ADU?

The accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, is a typically smaller second home that has its own kitchen, bedroom and bathroom facilities, and is located inside, attached to, or close to an existing single-family house. Also known as an in-law suite, guesthouse, backyard cottage or granny flat, an ADU is any additional living unit on the lot of a single-family home.

Legally, an ADU is part of the same property as the main home, regardless of whether it is in the form of an apartment next to the garage, a basement apartment, or a free-standing home. An accessory dwelling unit must be owner occupied and unlike a condominium, it cannot be bought or sold separately.

Although they became less common in the middle of the 20th century, the popularity of ADUs is on the rise. This change comes as homeowners strive to make better use of existing land, and as over-developed areas search for ways to increase the availability of affordable housing options.


ADU’s Offer Flexibility & Extra Space

The flexibility of accessory dwelling units allows them to serve a variety of functions as a homeowner’s needs change over time. An ADU can be a home office, a private space for guests, or an opportunity for additional rental income. It can also be a home to a family member with special needs, or an elderly relative who wants to age in place, allowing them to receive the support and care they need while retaining as much independence as possible.

As with any new build or remodeling project, an accessory dwelling unit is a significant investment of both your time and money. However, after the initial build has been completed, ADUs are less costly to operate and maintain per square foot, and rental income can help to supplement mortgage costs or retirement savings. Homeowners can also benefit from increased property value and the flexibility and security that comes with having a secondary and adaptable structure that can meet their future environmental, lifestyle or financial needs.


For those looking to optimize a traditional home, an accessory dwelling unit is a great way to take advantage of existing resources, while increasing the efficiency of a property and providing extra income. We recommend working with a qualified design, construction and project management team who can help you to understand local development constraints and navigate the permit process. This trusted team can also ensure your ADU is exactly the way you imagined, delivered on time and on budget.

Are you considering the addition of an ADU, in-law suite, guesthouse or backyard cottage in 2018? Contact Acton Construction to start the conversation.

Or, sign up for a free educational seminar on ADUs. Learn about the new California laws permitting the construction of ADUs in your area; and the unique benefits of building one, including generating cash flow. Space is limited, so RSVP early.

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