Why Have Accessory Dwelling Units Become So Popular?

Call them “accessory dwelling units,” “granny flats,” “carriage houses” or “in-law apartments,” among other common names, but whatever you call these small, secondary residential units, you may have noticed them popping up all over town.

Sustainable and self-containing, these residential units occupy the same address as an existing home, providing another functional living space that, due to size, uses fewer resources than a large home. Why is it that these modern, self-containing dwellings are becoming so commonplace across America?

Appeal for Modern Families 

As the baby boomer generation ages, many older adults are finding that they want to be near family, but that they aren’t necessarily ready to surrender their independence. In-law apartments offer the best of both worlds, because they allow aging parents to live near family and potentially help with child-rearing and similar efforts while still having their own place to call home.

The Sustainability Factor  

In many cases, adults want to downsize once the kids move out, and accessory dwelling units present an affordable, sustainable alternative to larger one- or two-bedroom homes. Furthermore, ADUs help reduce urban sprawl and the depletion of energy resources by limiting multiple dwellings to a single property.

The Income Potential

If you don’t plan to have a parent or other elder loved one living in your secondary dwelling, you may, depending on circumstances, choose to use it as a rental property or alternative lodging option, such as an AirBnB. While this can generate a sizable and steady stream of revenue, the proximity to your own home also makes it an easy type of rental to manage – and as an added bonus, you get to keep a close eye on your guests.

Many cities and towns across America have zoning standards that allow for accessory dwelling units and provisions in place with regard to sleeping, cooking, living, entry and sanitation. If you’re looking to move mom or dad closer to you or manage a rental property to generate some extra cash, consider a metal accessory dwelling unit.