Wednesday, September 21, 2016



If you’re thinking about building an ADU or DADU, there are several factors to consider. As noted above, both share many advantages, but the following are additional issues to consider:

Accessory Dwelling Unit

§ Can provide rental income

§ The space and building systems already exists - construction expense is greatly reduced

§ Does not impact scale or character of neighborhood and often goes unnoticed

§ Does not impact open space of property

§ Unit can often be directly connected to house if so desired (family members)

§ Can be a quick return investment

§ Since the unit is attached, sounds will likely be heard regardless of sound-proofing efforts

§ Privacy. You’ll likely be sharing some exterior spaces and possibly even some interior

Detached Accessory Dwelling Units

§ Can provide rental income

§ Increased privacy and no shared walls and floors/ceiling

§ Clear boundaries can be delineated between units

§ Cost. Building a DADU is significantly more costly per square foot than building a house

§ Takes away from yard and open space

§ Potential to impact neighbors open space and privacy


Below are "before" and "after" floor plans of an ADU we recently completed. As with most ADUs we’ve designed, the basement was finished space and only required minor interior renovations. A small, compact kitchen was added along with a new closet for a stacked washer/dryer, and sound attenuation and fire separation was added to adjoining house walls and ceilings. In addition, access to an electric sub-panel and thermostat was added for independent control of the building systems within the unit. And the best part - no exterior work was required. This ADU has 485 SF of rentable space, will be used as a long term rental, rents for $1,200 / month and cost $35,000 which included all project costs.

DADUs are wonderful - who doesn't love a tiny house (?!) but ADUs are typically a bigger bang for the buck. Based on the ADU project we've designed, returns on investments have ranged from 2 to 4 years.

How to finance? We'll be exploring this topic in our next blog. Stay tuned!

Happy Investing!

Today's blog courtesy of David Taber, Neiman Taber Architects

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