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Can an ADU Boost Your Home’s Square Footage?

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have gained significant popularity in recent years as a solution for increasing housing options and maximizing property value. An ADU, also known as a granny flat, in-law suite, or backyard cottage, is a secondary housing unit built on the same lot as an existing primary residence, and it can be either attached or detached from the main house. ADUs provide a means to utilize underutilized space on residential properties and are often used for purposes such as rental income, housing aging parents, or accommodating grown children. The pros from Forever Builders, the full house and kitchen remodelers San Diego homeowners trust for exceptional craftsmanship and outstanding service, explain whether and when an ADU can increase a home’s square footage.

Defining Square Footage

Before delving into whether an ADU increases square footage, it’s essential to understand what square footage entails. Square footage typically refers to the total area within the walls of a structure, including livable spaces like bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, and kitchens. Garages, porches, and unfinished basements are usually excluded from square footage calculations. However, different local regulations may have specific guidelines, so it’s important to consult with local authorities and real estate professionals for accurate information.

The Impact of an ADU on Square Footage

An ADU can also increase your home’s square footage, which can make it more attractive to potential buyers. However, not all ADUs are counted as part of the gross living area (GLA) of your home. The GLA is the total area of finished, above-grade residential space that’s heated and cooled. It’s one of the factors appraisers use to determine your home’s value.

According to the Appraisal Institute, an ADU can be included in the GLA of your home if it meets the following criteria:

  • It’s accessible from the main living area of the house without passing through an unfinished area or a garage
  • It has a similar quality of construction and finish as the main house
  • It has adequate heating and cooling systems
  • It complies with the local zoning and building codes

If your ADU doesn’t meet these criteria, it can still add value to your home, but it will be considered a separate feature and not part of the GLA. The square footage of your home will remain unchanged if your ADU is a separate structure that’s physically distinct from the main dwelling. Therefore, if you’re considering an ADU solely to expand the square footage of your primary residence, it may not be the ideal solution.

Benefits of Adding an ADU

Even if your ADU won’t directly increase the square footage of your primary residence, it offers a range of benefits that make it a worthwhile investment, including:

  • Additional living space – ADUs provide valuable extra living space that can be used for various purposes, such as hosting guests, accommodating family members, or generating rental income.
  • Flexibility and privacy – ADUs offer flexibility by providing separate living quarters with their own entrances, kitchens, and bathrooms. This separation ensures privacy for both the homeowners and occupants of the ADU.
  • Rental income potential – One of the significant advantages of an ADU is the potential for rental income. Renting out the ADU can provide a steady stream of revenue, offsetting mortgage costs and increasing the overall value of the property.
  • Enhanced property value – ADUs can significantly boost the value of your property, making it more attractive to potential buyers in the real estate market. The additional living space and income potential make your property more versatile and desirable.

Important Considerations

Before you decide to build an ADU on your property, you should do some research on the local regulations and market conditions. Some cities and states have adopted laws that make it easier and more attractive for homeowners to build ADUs, while others may have restrictions on the size, location, design, parking, occupancy, and rental of ADUs. You should also consult with a professional appraiser or real estate agent to get an estimate of how much value an ADU can add to your home and how much demand there is for ADUs in your area.

Whether adding an ADU increases the square footage of your primary residence or not, it offers a range of advantages. By understanding the impact of an ADU on square footage and considering the associated benefits, you can make an informed decision about whether an ADU is the right choice for your property. With careful planning, an ADU can be a valuable addition to any residential property, serving both practical and financial purposes.

When you’re ready to add 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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