The Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a form of homeownership that has been rapidly growing in the United States over the last few years. The ADU has become popular because it can be an affordable way to live, and it also allows homeowners to generate additional income by renting out their space. But before you rush into looking into an ADU company, there are three important considerations to keep in mind: zoning laws, building codes, and utilities.
The first consideration you should make is with your local zoning laws. While there are many benefits to owning an ADU, the most important one may be giving homeowners more flexibility over their property use. But this also means that if you don’t follow the rules for building and designing your unit, you could face some major consequences down the line. For example, cities often limit how far back accessory units can sit from a lot’s front or side property lines to keep them close enough for fire trucks and other emergency services vehicles to access easily. This isn’t always possible, though.
The second consideration you should make is with your local building codes. In the same way, zoning laws restrict how homeowners can use their property, so do the more specific regulations by a city’s building code. For example, there are usually height restrictions for structures within an ADU unit which prevents them from being built too tall or wide. You will also need to keep certain windows and doors on the exterior of your home to meet standards for safety purposes. And even if you’re just renting out a portion of your house through Airbnb, then it’s not uncommon that these homes have additional requirements depending on what type of occupancy they’ll be used for long-term living versus short-term sleeping accommodations.
Finally, the third consideration you should make is with creating a plan for managing utility costs. Even if your property does not have an ADU unit on it right now, some basic considerations need to be made when designing one in case this option becomes available down the line or you want to rent out space outside of your home. For example, even though many homeowners hope they will reduce their energy bill by installing solar panels, they can quickly become outdated and require professional installation. This isn’t always cost-effective, depending on how long it takes them to pay themselves back through savings. So instead of focusing too heavily on making sure everything is up-to-date technologically speaking, just think about having clear access points where all your utilities come into your home. Having these in place will help keep costs down regardless of the unit you decide to have on your property.
You should consider all three considerations mentioned above before designing an ADU because they are important for keeping homeownership affordable and profitable over time. These tips can also be applied when renting out space outside of a traditional home, even if there aren’t any zoning laws or building codes that need to be met beforehand. This way, you’re able to design something that works best for what it is being used for at the moment while still having access points created where necessary, so utility bills don’t skyrocket unexpectedly during use.
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