What Are the Benefits of ADUs for an Extended Family Home?

ADUs can be used to maintain multi-generational families by housing adult children, aging parents, children with special needs, and more.
Updated January 01, 2020

An ADU or an accessory dwelling unit refers to a secondary house or apartment unit that shares the same lot of a larger primary home. You may have also heard ADU referred to as granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages, or tiny homes. Although they come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, ADUs are extremely beneficial to homeowners as housing costs continue to soar across the country.

They are particularly beneficial in red-hot housing markets in places like California. In fact, almost 16,000 ADU permits were issued across the state in 2019—up from just 6,000 in 2018. So let’s explore more about what these accessory dwelling units are and how they can be extremely beneficial for housing extended families.

Benefits of ADUs for Extended Family

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of ADUs is that they are able to comfortably and economically house extended families and multi-generational families. This is especially helpful in a time when housing costs are off the charts, and many individuals and families struggle to make it on their own. That being said, there are many different familial situations in which an ADU may be beneficial, for instance:

  • Adult Children: It’s no secret that more adult children than ever are living at home these days. This trend has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic to the point that a majority—52%—of young adults ages 18 to 29 are living with their parents.
    Constructing an ADU for your adult children allows them to live rent-free and save up money so that they can eventually afford their own place.
  • Aging Parents: Children aren’t the only ones that can benefit from an ADU—parents can too. This is especially true as they age and become less able to handle many of the tasks necessary to maintain their own homes.
    For this reason, it often makes sense for aging parents to move into an ADU that keeps them close to family while still providing them with their own space and independence. Furthermore, an ADU is an alternative to sky-high care costs for older adults in places like assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Specific elderly-friendly design features such as zero-threshold showers, wider doors, and open floor plans are features that Cottage has designed for homeowners to meet their needs.
  • Individuals with Special Needs: Alternatively, ADUs can be a great housing option for individuals with special needs. Constructing an ADU for a special needs child or sibling can be a great way to keep them close by while still giving them a space of their own.
    Having their own space and carrying out everyday chores and home care can help them feel more independent and capable instead of limited, handicapped, or dependent on caregivers.
  • Grandchildren: Grandchildren are one of life’s greatest joys. You want to spend as much time with them as possible. However, it can be challenging to accommodate them within a single house.
    This is where ADUs can become extremely beneficial as they provide you with the extra space that you need to comfortably have your grandchildren over as much as possible and enjoy a family home evening.
  • Retirement: While you can move an aging parent into an ADU, you yourself can also move into an ADU when you retire. This option allows you to stay on the same lot while transferring the main home to one of your children and grandchildren.
    A retirement ADU keeps you close by and comfortable while providing you unlimited access to your lovely grandchildren.
  • Siblings or Friends: Say a sibling or a friend is going through a rough time in life. Maybe they just went through a divorced or lost their job—living in an ADU on your property can help them get back on their feet. These guests will be forever grateful for your love and support during a trying time.

Additional Benefits of ADUs To Consider

While ADUs can be a great way to house extended family, they also offer additional benefits that you should keep in mind throughout the planning, design, and construction process.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Additional Rental Income: ADUs can also be rented out and can be a source of additional income. Whether or not you want to charge family members for their rent or lease is up to you.
    Even collecting a small amount such as a few hundred dollars adds up throughout the year while still being an affordable expense for the renter.
  • Increased Home Value: ADUs can definitely help increase the value of your home for when it comes time to sell down the road. For instance, your house can now be listed as having an extra bedroom and bathroom—making it more appealing to buyers willing to raise the stakes to pay a premium for such a beneficial feature.
  • Environmentally Friendliness: Finally, ADUs are environmentally friendly as they require fewer resources and use less energy for heating and cooling than a full single-family home. Additionally, they don’t contribute to urban sprawl and are a sustainable alternative to huge high-rise apartment complexes. Additionally, many ADUs are constructed as all-electric, making them high-efficiency units.

Different Types of ADUs To Consider for Extended Family

Depending on your needs, a specific type of ADU might be better suited for your family.

For instance, there are conversion ADUs that utilize existing structures like a basement or a garage to create a separate unit. Additionally, there are attached ADUs that are built onto the existing home structure. Finally, there are detached ADUs that are built completely separate from the existing home structure and come with tons of room for flexibility and design features.

Necessary Features in an ADU for Extended Family

In terms of design features for your ADU, you need to think about what your family needs. For instance, do you need multiple bedrooms and bathrooms within your ADU? Or are you simply looking for a few extra hundred square feet to house the occasional overnight guest or entertain friends?

In any case, you should look for a custom ADU that includes all the features you need to create the perfect space for your family. For instance, you should look for an ADU that includes a full-size kitchen, in-unit washer and dryer, luxury full-size bathrooms, ample storage space, separate utilities, and plenty of light from features like skylights or French doors.

How To Build the Best ADU for Extended Family

Figuring out the type and features in your ADU on your own can be confusing and overwhelming. The good news is that you don’t have to tackle this on your own when you work with the ADU experts at Cottage.

Cottage covers the entire process, including feasibility, design, permitting, and construction. We take the reins with the time consuming parts like permitting while involving you in the fun parts like design. We work with an established network of reputable and trusted contractors and employees to complete your ADU project to perfection from our unique perspective and expertise.

Working with Cottage to build a custom ADU gives you the best bang for your buck since we include everything from design, engineering, site prep, utility connections, foundation, and construction. Depending on your needs, Cottage’s process tends to cost less than prefab ADUs or design-bid-build methods for the value and quality of construction.

ADUs Are a Family Asset

As you can see, ADUs can be extremely beneficial for extended families. They allow you to maintain a multi-generational household within a single lot. They can be designed and molded to fit a whole host of different needs and scenarios.

Reach out to our ADU experts today using the link below for a free consultation and estimate to start building your extended family home.



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