ADUs: Solving the California Housing Crisis While Offsetting Your Mortgage

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)?

According to the American Planning Association, an Accessory Dwelling Unity (ADU) is a smaller, independent residential dwelling unit located on the same lot as a stand-alone (i.e., detached) single-family home. While the abbreviation of ADU is becoming more widely used, for many years ADUs were typically referred to as Granny Units and or In-law units. 

ADUs have become more common especially in the State of California because constructing ADUs are an excellent way to provide much-needed housing while adding value to your existing property. 


What is a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU)? 

Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) are units that are allowed to be created within the walls of a proposed or existing single-family residence and shall contain no more than 500 square feet. 

In many cases, a JADU will share some common areas with the main house such as a bathroom. But states that providing a separate exterior entrance, and an efficiency kitchen (sink, cooking appliance, counter surface, and storage) is required. 


Under California state law, homeowners can now build both an ADU and a JADU on their property! 

What are the benefits of building an ADU and or a JADU?

The list of benefits in regards to building an ADU and or a JADU are quite long but here are a few to consider:


Additional Revenue Stream:

Renting out your ADU or your JADU will provide you with an additional revenue stream that can offset personal living costs (i.e., mortgage payments) or aid in preparing for future financial milestones such as retirement. 


Increased Property Value:

By adding a new separate/built-in unit like an ADU or JADU to your property you are increasing your property’s value. You are not only adding additional square footage and livable space but should you ever decide to sell your home, you are providing an opportunity for a future buyer to have that same additional revenue stream. ADUs are extremely marketable and desirable for prospective home buyers. 



If you decide to offer your ADU as a rental, you would be providing housing in a state where it is severely needed. Providing affordable housing through an ADU is something that can even benefit the older members of your immediate family, keeping them close while maintaining privacy.



Multiple Purposes:

Renting out your ADU/JADU is not mandatory. Now with so many people working and learning from home, creating a new space could be hugely beneficial. Or maybe you are looking for a designated place for guests or an art studio? Having the space available provides so much freedom. 


Ok, this all sounds great but now what?

First things first, you need to confirm whether or not your property is applicable to constructing an ADU or JADU. While many cities and counties support ADUs in their plans, development fee credits, and adopted zoning regulations that permit ADUs in low-density residential areas, ADUs are not permitted everywhere. You need to determine who is the governing building jurisdiction in your immediate area. For example, you could own a home in Mill Valley, CA, and have to report to the City of Mill Valley directly when it comes to building/development of your ADU and not the County of Marin. Or vice versa. If you don’t already know the answer to this question, this is something you can determine with a phone call to your local county and or city. 


Every Area Is Different:

Once you know your immediate building jurisdiction you need to understand your area’s specific ADU guidelines. If you are in Marin County, I recommend visiting ADU Marin. This website as a whole is a wealth of information! We regularly consult the I’m Thinking About It page on their website to learn about specific ADU guidelines for different areas where we have current or upcoming listings. 


ADU Marin:

Once you have all of the above initial information out of the way we recommend taking a deeper dive into the ADU Marin Website. A good place to start once you have established your budget is the I’m Ready page on their website. The page has almost everything you need to get started. From an ADU prep work checklist, tips on how to hire a proper design and building team, all the way to Landlord resources, they have it all. 


We hope this blog post was able to highlight some of the main reasons why we believe ADUs are excellent housing and revenue-producing additions to any applicable property!


Do you have any additional questions? Contact us!






Torben Yjord-Jackson – Realtor

EXP Realty of CA, Inc.
License #02050831
📲(415) 259-8088



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