Eco-friendly ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) have never made more sense


The pandemic taught us that home is more than just a place to sleep. Not only was more space wanted as we lived, worked, cooked and played at home… but more private space was needed to get away from the activity zones of doing everything together in an enclosed space.

Enter the ADU. They have been around for a long time, often known as ‘granny flats’ or in-law apartments in the past… but there are now about 100,000 ADUs being built every year, according to a 2021 analysis by Houses with ADUs average prices 35% higher than those without, according to the same study.

An ADU is an additional housing unit built onto an existing property, most often either a new standalone structure or a converted garage. They typically average about 400 square feet and have low energy use, but could be larger and may even have a small elevator to an upper level. They create ‘urban infill’, an eco-friendly response to the need for more housing without changing the character of the neighborhood. Because they are small, they are often well designed with an efficient use of space. Do-it-yourself kits and modular stand-alone units are also available… created on an assembly line, so they are more economical to build.

ADUs are popular for a variety of reasons, perhaps the biggest being their flexibility for different uses as needs change.

Potential uses include….

  • a separate home office, gym, studio, hangout space
  • a home for aging parents or adult children
  • a private space for a live-in nanny or caretaker
  • a guest house
  • quarantine quarters for at-risk or sick family members
  • rental apartment (both short- and long-term)

It’s really about maximizing flexibility for changing needs as life happens.

An ADU could be used as a rental for added income to help with mortgage payments for a few years, then as an in-law apartment for aging parents, followed by a home for adult children as they get established… then as an office… and then when you are empty nesters and one of the nearly 66% of households that are smaller with no children you could downsize and move into the ADU yourself, rent out your main house and create a steady income stream for yourself while you remain in your community and keep building your home equity!

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results –


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I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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