Are you interested in adding extra living space to your home? Often called an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), mother in law suite, garage apartments, according to research from Freddie Mac, these apartments have undergone a significant increase since the 1950s, resulting in more than 1.4 million single-family properties around the country have ADUs these days.
If you are interested in adding one of these ADUs to your home — whether it’s for your parents, grandparents or just to make extra money — here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Create a separate entrance.In some places, laws may require a separate entrance for these types of dwellings as a part of the fire code. At the same time, a separate entrance can provide whoever lives there a type of independence and self-worth. When you add these entrances, make sure that they are well lit, especially if the individual will need to go up or down a set of stairs to access the space. You can add value — and beauty — to the entrance by creating a little patio or spot for a table, chair, or even just a plant.
- Make it accessible.If your in-law, parents, or whoever will be occupying the space is a handicap or needs additional experience, make sure that you are creating a space that allows them to be their most comfortable and most independent. This can be a little more challenging and more expensive than creating a regular apartment, but often it is worth the effort in the end. Some of the features of a handicap-accessible space include installing a shower stall that doesn’t have a curb, using lever-style handles in all rooms and on all closet doors, installing wall-mounted sinks, and installing a removable ramp that meets standards for wheelchair use.
- Think about light. One of the places that make a home enjoyable is when it has natural light. When creating an ADU, think about adding proper windows so that the space can be filled with sunlight during the day. This may be difficult if you are building in an ADU in a basement space. But there are window options available that will help you invite in as much natural light as possible.
- Add a separate laundry unit. If at all possible, having a separate laundry unit can help invite that feeling of independence that so many people living in an ADU space are looking for. At the same time, when you have an already busy family using up this amenity, it can ensure they stay out of your hair and can get their chores done.
- Make sure the space is soundproof.One of the primary characteristics of an ADU is that it has some soundproofing that will make sure it is completely separate from the main dwelling. This will also ensure that both parties have the privacy they need to live independently.
Adding an ADU or in-law suite is a great way to upgrade your home, help your family, or make additional money.