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The Differences between Guest Houses & ADUs

That charming little cottage behind your neighbor’s house provides more than a reprieve from the fast pace of life in the primary home. It can also serve as a refuge for both short-term guests and long-term residents. You might have heard these types of structures described as both guest houses and Accessory Dwelling Units, and although they have many characteristics in common, there are several significant distinctions that make ADUs and guest houses very different from one another. The pros from Forever Builders, the full house and kitchen remodelers San Diego homeowners trust for exceptional craftsmanship and outstanding service, explain what you should know before you decide which one is the best option for you.

What Is a Guest House?

A guest house is a small dwelling that’s separate from the main house on a property, and it typically doesn’t have a full kitchen and/or the electrical and plumbing infrastructure necessary to be used as an independent living unit. This type of structure is intended to give guests a private area to stay in for a short time, and most municipalities have zoning laws that limit the use of guest houses to only short-term stays instead of permanent residency. 

Most guest houses have a bedroom and a bathroom, and some may also feature dining or lounging areas as well, depending on their size and style. Although most guest houses typically don’t have facilities for cooking, some have microwaves and mini fridges. 

Pros & Cons of a Guest House

If you’re leaning toward adding a guest house on your property, considering these benefits and drawbacks can help you decide:

  • A guest house can be the ideal choice if you just want a place to host short-term guests. Giving them a space of their own to unwind and rest will leave a great impression while allowing you and your family to maintain your privacy. On the other hand, a guest house may not be the greatest solution over the long run, particularly if it doesn’t have a kitchen.
  • A guest house can provide a place to escape to, whether it’s a personal oasis for you and your family or a private space for guests. With a guest house, you can have your own private retreat just steps away from your back door. However, you should keep in mind that since a guest house usually doesn’t have full kitchen amenities, you and your guests may end up going back and forth to your house more often than you’d like.

What Is an ADU?

An ADU is a self-contained secondary housing unit that has a full bathroom and a kitchen with necessary equipment such as a stove, refrigerator, and sink, allowing it to meet the standards for plumbing and electricity necessary to house tenants or family members independently. ADUs are designed for everyday living on a long-term basis, while guest houses are not. 

Several types of ADUs exist. These include:

  • Detached ADUs (DADUs), which are completely separate from primary residences
  • Attached ADUs, which are connected to primary residences
  • Conversions, which transform basements, garages, or other unused parts of a property into their own dwellings

Pros & Cons of an ADU

As with guest houses, ADUs have their own advantages and disadvantages: 

  • An ADU can boost your property value. In addition to giving you another dwelling on your property, it adds to your home’s overall square footage, so you could see your property value increase by as much as tens of thousands of dollars. However, even though an ADU is an affordable option, you’ll have to pay for the basic amenities to make the space suitable for independent long-term living.
  • An ADU is a smart way to take advantage of the space you already have. For example, converting an unused pool house or garage into an ADU is a practical way to optimize space that isn’t being used consistently. Keep in mind that you’ll likely lose space to store your car and various household items if you build a new ADU or convert an existing space for this purpose. 
  • An ADU can provide a steady stream of revenue, especially in a hot real estate market where affordable housing is in high demand. You can rent an ADU to a long-term tenant or offer it as a vacation rental. The downside here is that you’ll be a landlord, which means you’ll be responsible for maintaining the ADU and making any repairs, and you’ll have strangers on your property, which may make your family uncomfortable. 

Whether you’re ready to add a guest house or an ADU to your home, make sure to hire the best contractors in the business. The team from Forever Builders are the experts in home renovation San Diego homeowners can trust to provide the most affordable home remodeling services and ensure their visions become reality. From design to completion, we’ll help you create the home you’ve always wanted, meeting all your expectations while keeping your costs within budget. To find out more about our outstanding remodeling services, give one of our friendly team members a call today at (833) 243-5624.

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