ADU Potential

ADU Potential

The ADU potential, or the potential that an accessory dwelling unit has, varies based on the location, as well as the rules and regulations set up by your local city and state.  While many people dream of building a grand ADU, the reality is, they are usually constrained by building regulations and, often, budget.  However, even with a limited budget and tight building restraints, the ADU potential is huge.  Here’s why.

ADU Benefits

Adding an ADU to your property increases the overall property value.  Additionally, the ADU can be rented out separately from the main home, allowing you to generate extra income.  There are also numerous financial advantages, such as the ability to finance the ADU from the equity in your home, as well as the tax benefits.

The ADU potential and benefits don’t stop there.  By adding an ADU to your property, you are essentially creating a secondary dwelling or home where someone can live.  This is a great option for multi-generational families who need a place for either an elderly parent or young adult to live.  An ADU can also serve as an office space for those who work from home.

ADU Potential with Limited Space

Many people think that a lot of open space is needed in order to add an ADU, but that isn’t always the case.  Accessory dwelling units can actually be built within the footprint of the primary residence or in an accessory structure, such as a garage.  If you own a detached garage, the ADU could potentially be built over the garage, though that costs significantly more and is not allowed in certain cities.

Just because you are limited on space, doesn’t mean you’re limited on ADU potential.  In fact, a smaller ADU, such as a garage conversion, tends to have a quicker return on investment based on the amount of rent that can be collected.  While this varies per property and location, garage conversions tend to cost the least, while still providing a nice place for someone to live.

Below is our Garage Conversion ADU Model floor plan.  You can see that even with limited space, a standard two-car garage can accommodate a full-size kitchen, living area, bedroom with stackable washer/dryer, bathroom, and a utility closet to store the primary residence’s utilities, if needed.

Another option to increase the ADU potential if you are short on space is to attach the ADU onto the main house.  When constructing a detached ADU, the city often requires that the ADU be a certain amount of feet away from the main house.  By attaching on to the house, you can avoid this setback, while still creating a separate dwelling space with its own external entrance.

ADU Potential with a Large Area of Space

If you have a large area of open space on your property, then you can probably consider building a detached ADU.  The ADU potential does increase with more space, in the regard that you could potentially build a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit.  While you may have the space for a three-bedroom ADU, or even larger, most cities in our area of Orange County, CA only allow a maximum of two-bedrooms.  Be sure to check with your local planning and/or building department as some rural areas allow larger ADUs.  

It’s also important to verify with your city the maximum square footage for an accessory dwelling unit on your particular property.  While the California ADU laws currently state that maximum ADU size requirements must be at least 850 square feet and 1,000 square feet for ADUs with more than one bedroom, this is not always the case.  Due to certain factors, such as easements, being located in a Historic District, or limited public utility capacity, you may legally be restricted to less square footage, so be sure to check.

Find Out the ADU Potential for Your Property

If you are located in or around the Orange County, CA area, contact us for a free ADU consultation.  Our team of ADU professionals will visit your property and talk with you about the ADU potential it has.  Contact us today!

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