Four Excellent Reasons to Construct an Accessory Dwelling Unit in San Diego

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Laws in San Diego have recently made it easier for people living in residential areas to add an Accessory Dwelling Unit to their property. It’s no secret that California’s housing prices are quite high so a lot of residents are finding them to be a useful and economical way to add value to their home.

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is an extra living space that comes at a much more affordable cost. These units come in several different forms (in-law suites, backyard cottages, tiny homes, granny flats) and provide space for an extra person to live. Some homeowners opt to build an ADU to have more space for their own family and friends. Others may decide to rent it out to a tenant to make a bit of extra income on the side. Regardless of what they are used for, ADUs are proving to be a cost efficient choice for many. In San Diego, where housing is in such high demand, adding an ADU is a great option to consider, especially if you are planning on keeping the property for an extended period of time.

Before we get into it, here’s a bit more background on the recent policy changes that have made ADUs such an economic investment. The laws define Accessory Dwelling Units as any structure that is located on a residential property that has a pre-existing single-family residence. They are intended to be secondary to the single-family house. ADU’s are allowed to be up to 50% of the size of the primary residence and can be a maximum of 1200 square feet. While the building fees are drastically diminished on ADUs, there are still standards for zoning, building, and safety. As a result, a building permit will still be required to build an ADU.

Now that you know what it takes to build an ADU, here are some reasons why it could be beneficial to add one.


1. It serves as a place to host guests


If you have in-laws, adult children, or other family members who need a place to stay, an ADU can help keep your family close while still providing everyone with their own privacy. They can also serve as a comfortable guesthouse for visitors with a shorter stay. ADUs don’t have to serve as a living space for an extra person, although that is the main purpose for them.

As your lifestyle changes over time, the function of the ADU can change, too. If you start having kids, the area can become a play space or the nanny’s house. If your parents start aging and require close monitoring, it can serve as a great living space for them. An ADU can be a great office space, yoga studio, or man cave. ADUs can even serve as storage units! The best part about these structures is their sheer flexibility. Having an extra space that can change with your lifestyle enhances the way your home fits your family. There is truly no shortage of functions for this bonus space – take your creativity and run wild with it.


2. It makes entertaining a breeze


Because ADU’s are so cross-functional, you can throw together a party with ease. Most are made with an open floor plan, so it’s easy to change the purpose of the space. You can use your Accessory Dwelling Unit as a bar area or food-serving area when it comes to entertaining. Consider adding extra seating and tables for larger parties. It could also just be an area where people can relax, watch a sports game and enjoy company. That’s the great thing about these spaces: it can serve whatever function you need it to. In the end, it gives everyone a little more space to move around and breathe. Come the end of the evening, all it takes is a bit of tidying up, and your guests will have a comfortable place to stay over.


3. An ADU can add to the ROI of your home


In California’s competitive real estate market, having an ADU is one major way to make your house stand out. When it does come time to sell, an ADU will not only make your house an attractive option, but it will also add value to it. Having this added square footage will surely increase the price of your home.

In addition, more and more people are building ADUs that are smart and sustainable. By adding solar panels to your extra living unit, the ROI of your home will increase and will most likely become more and more valuable over time. You’re also helping San Diego keep green!


4. It’s a way to make extra income through renting


Many ADU owners rent out the space in order to earn some extra income. Consider renting it out as an AirBnB or an apartment. You still have the privacy of your own home, and you can monitor the ADU easily. A standard, one-bedroom ADU could easily make you an additional $1,500 – $2,000 per month in San Diego’s housing market. Moreover, some people choose to downsize and stay in their upgraded ADU while they rent out the single-family residence. If you’re newly retired or trying to downsize, this could be a useful solution until you a ready to sell your house.

With rising costs and fewer housing options, ADU’s have greatly helped the real estate market in San Diego. These spaces are much more affordable and significantly easier to build than a full-blown extension.


ADU’s are increasing in popularity, especially in California. There are so many potential benefits that adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit to your home can bring. Not only are they spacious rooms that can hold many different purposes, but they can also have enormous financial benefits attached to them. An ADU is a relatively affordable way to flip a profit and earn some extra income. Take advantage of this hot trend and add some value to your home.

If you’re interested in taking the next steps, contact us so we can help you bring all your ADU dreams to life!