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Accessory dwelling units (aka ADUs) are growing in popularity in response to high housing costs, senior living needs, and the desire for more usable property. In 2021, it was found that the number of ADUs in America is increasing at a rate of about 9% per year.
It’s not hard to understand the perks of building an ADU on your property. What might be a little harder is figuring out where to start.
We’re here to talk about how to develop ADU house plans, what to expect from ADU costs, and more. Once you’re done reading this guide, you’ll be ready to get started and break ground on your own ADU!
Read on to learn more about the process of building an ADU on your property this year.
What Components Will You Find in an ADU?
First, let’s talk about what an accessory dwelling unit actually is. It’s important that you don’t confuse it with a simple addition of a bedroom or single-purpose living space.
An ADU is an independent living unit built on the same property as a single-family home. In other words, your ADU should have everything someone would need to meet their daily needs. This includes:
- A kitchen or kitchenette
- A full bathroom
- Working electricity
- Windows and an entrance separate from the single-family home
Additional amenities like WiFi or cable access are common but not required. Ultimately, the idea is that someone could live or stay for a short time in your ADU without needing something (like fridge or shower access) from your single-family home.
What Types of ADUs Can You Choose From?
What we’ve laid out above are the strictest parameters of what “counts” as an ADU. However, you’ll find that there are several different types of ADUs that you can choose to build on your property.
One decision you’ll need to make is whether you want to build an attached ADU or a detached ADU. A detached ADU consists of all new construction, as the ADU is not attached in any way to your existing home.
You can go with all new construction on an attached ADU, as well. This would look like an addition onto one side of your home that does share a wall with your home.
Other attached ADU house plans that don’t involve as much new construction include garage ADUs and interior ADUs. You’ll often see interior ADUs built in the attic or basement of an existing home.
How Will State Regulations Impact Your ADU House Plans?
Before you start dreaming up ADU house plans, there’s an important step to take. Find out about any state or local regulations regarding your right to build an ADU.
Some cities are more ADU-friendly than others. What we mean by that is that some cities don’t put as many restrictions on homeowners when it comes to building ADUs. Regardless of where you live, make sure you understand how state and local ADU regulations impact things like:
- how many units you can have on your property
- how large your units can be
- what utilities your units can include and where those utilities come from
- what fire safety codes you need to meet
- what parking options are available to ADU residents
You may also need to have your property inspected for a variety of things before building an ADU. As is the case with most new construction on your property, you will have to secure the proper permits and licenses, as well.
Can I Come Up With DIY ADU House Plans?
As you can see, ADUs are complex structures, even if they’re on the smaller side. Unless you have experience building residential properties, we don’t recommend trying to come up with an ADU house plan on your own.
Many homeowners go the DIY route with the goal of saving money that would otherwise go to ADU builders. However, inexperience often makes the DIY route more expensive in the long run. Using inadequate materials, constructing the dwelling poorly, and simple builder error can all cost money–and a lot of it.
Will ADU Builders Create Custom ADU House Plans?
Many ADU builders will offer two options to property owners. You can select from a prefabricated and pre-approved ADU house plan or you can work with the company to come up with a custom design.
If you’re sold on coming up with a unique ADU, the latter service is better than going DIY. If you’re more interested in saving time, you can choose a prefab plan that will allow you to secure permits and licenses faster. Either way, you’re going to end up with a well-designed and well-built ADU that will require far less maintenance than a DIY ADU.
How Much Will My ADU Cost?
It’s not easy to estimate how much your ADU will cost without knowing a variety of factors. These include:
- where you live (and the overall cost of living in that area)
- what type of ADU you’re building
- how large your ADU will be
A good rule of thumb is that interior ADUs cost less than new construction ADUs. The reason behind this is simple: it requires fewer new materials and takes less time to complete. You can also expect to pay more for a custom ADU than a prefab ADU because of the time and effort it takes to come up with a new and functional design.
The good news is that many ADU builders offer ADU financing. Get access to the payment plans you need to make your ADU dreams a reality.
Break Ground on Your ADU Project This Year
It’s not surprising to see growing interest in ADUs across America. Work with ADU builders to come up with ADU house plans and gain access to financing to break ground on your ADU project this year.
Looking for more inspiration to get moving on your next big project? Take a look around for interior design ideas, tips on high-ROI remodels, and more.