Image via Unsplash

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are quickly becoming a new real-estate phenomenon, featuring in 6.8 percent of all active for-sale listings. They made up 1.6 percent of all listings pre-2000, which means there’s been a large 8.6 percent year-on-year increase in the number of ADUs in the preceding two decades.

What’s the big deal? ADUs are popular because they’re extremely useful and affordable, and allow homeowners to squeeze out more value from their property. Entrepreneurs, especially the ones who work from home some of the time or have a home-based business, stand to benefit greatly from them. News Stast explores the ins and outs of ADUs and how they can benefit busy entrepreneurs.   

What are ADUs? 

As the name suggests, ADUs are secondary accessory units for living or other purposes. They are always clubbed together with a bigger, main property – hence the “accessory” bit. According to The American Planning Association, they are also called accessory apartments, secondary suites, and “granny flats” – because, you guessed it, they literally often house peoples’ grandparents. 

A good example of an ADU is a garage that’s been converted into an apartment or a shed in the back that doubles as a guest house. Typically, ADUs have their own amenities and can be independent living spaces (although they share utility and other connections with the main building).  

What are the benefits of ADUs for busy entrepreneurs?

ADUs can make life easier for busy entrepreneurs in various ways: 

1. A private home-office space or workshop 

ADUs make perfect home offices or workshops. Because they’re physically separate from the main dwelling, they offer oodles of privacy (no more interruptions while you work). You can hook them up to a second entrance to entertain visitors without disturbing your family. They can double as workshops, storage spaces, employee seating areas, and more.   

2. Low-cost housing for your nanny or babysitting family member 

Entrepreneurs who don’t work from home can also take advantage of ADUs in other ways – to house a nanny or a family member (like a parent or grandparent) who’ll be looking after your children, for example. You would be able to house the caretaker affordably and have them on hand when you need them. Having their own space would give the caretakers room to breathe, too, and put them at ease.  

3. Better work-life balance

ADUs can help entrepreneurs secure a better work-life balance. When you work in an ADU, they allow you to draw a mental boundary between work and home life. It’s easier to switch to work mode when you step in and switch off when you step out. You can be a part of your children’s lives while still being plugged into work.

4. Incidental benefit – a good investment opportunity

ADUs represent a significant investment opportunity, as Nolo can confirm. They are often rented out to generate a passive source of income. Also, they can be a good talking point and a highlight of your property when you’re selling. Keep in mind, though, that you will have to finance the construction, pay for upkeep, and also foot the tax bill. 

Pair your ADU with sanity-saving necessities for the best results

ADUs do a lot for your peace of mind as an entrepreneur. You can pair them up with other quality-of-life hacks for even better results:  

  • Automating tasks with apps: Business workflow apps, project management tools, payroll software, bookkeeping tools, and an invoice maker are every entrepreneur’s best friends. You can even use tools to create excellent business card designs.
  • Delegation: Not everything can be automated – that’s where hired help comes in. You can delegate key tasks to freelancers or hire full-time employees. 
  • Grocery delivery and meal kits: These days, you have apps like Instacart that deliver groceries as well as full-fledged meal kits to your doorstep. Making meals is easy.  
  • Self-care initiatives: Finally, entrepreneurs should actively take time off, eat healthily, exercise, spend time in nature, and generally look after themselves. 

ADU cost and other practical considerations 

The cost of an ADU depends on the size of the unit, the materials used, your location, specifications, and more. Typically, contractors will charge you a per-square-foot rate, which can range from $150 to $500/sq. foot (or more). Keep in mind that zoning and other laws apply to ADUs. It’s harder to build an ADU in a city than in a rural location, for example, but usually possible. Fortunately, US laws favor the construction of ADUs more often than not. 

ADUs are excellent additions to your home or property. You can put them to use in various ways and they can boost the property’s value. Look for an ADU builder or supplier near you and get in touch for assistance with creating a beautiful, high-quality ADU that fits your specifications and needs.