Floor Planning

Is an ADU a Good Investment

You may have heard it’s now much simpler to erect an accessory dwelling unit (ADU, commonly called a casita, guest house, additional unit, granny flat or in-law suite) on the majority of residential properties in California. But is an ADU a good investment? Does an ADU increase the value of your California home? The answer relies on a number of things, including whether you’re a professional investor or perhaps a homeowner seeking your first opportunity to produce rental income. We’d like to provide you with some suggestions as you weigh all the pros and cons of building an ADU in the San Diego area.

What is an ADU?

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is the next small living space that is based upon the same property as a single-family home. This type of dwelling is becoming increasingly popular as a solution for homeowners who are looking for extra living space, rental income, or a way to accommodate family members, guests or tenants.

ADUs can be attached or detached from the main residence and are designed to provide independent living space. They can be in the form of a basement conversion, a garage conversion, a backyard cottage, or a standalone structure on the property. The size and design of ADUs vary depending on local regulations, but they typically range from 200 to 1,000 square feet and may include a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living area.

Different Types of ADUs

ADUs are available in a variety of forms, dimensions, layouts and finishes. They can be classified as inside, attached or detached, accordingly. They typically resemble the following:

  • Converted garage ADU or converted to a garage ADU
  • Converted basement ADU
  • Added or removed space from a primary residence
  • Detached new structure, sometimes prefabricated

ADUs may provide advantages that go beyond giving a property more room or versatility. In California, for example, a property owner who doesn’t reside there can install the ADU and rent away both it and the original house. This offers up options for investors who wish to purchase a single-family home and install an ADU, albeit the procedure might take longer than some investors would like. It might be conceivable in some circumstances to construct accessory dwelling units that are legally constituted as a condominium and marketed separately from the primary residence.

Is an ADU a good investment?

Yes, an extra housing unit can be a wise investment for many homeowners. Understanding the prices for the size of unit that you wish to build can help you decide if an ADU is indeed a good investment. Find out more about ADU costs here. The expected impact of the ADU on property value, prospective rental income for the property, and ADU tax consequences are the next things you should be aware of.

When it is time to sell the property, for instance, you will benefit from a significant tax advantage if you build an ADU on your principal residence. You can defer paying taxes on up to $250,000 (or even $500,000 for married couples filing jointly) from your capital gains from the sale of your primary residence. By building an ADU, you would benefit from a tax shelter once it is time to sell the property, unlike if it were a separate investment property which is not considered your permanent residence.

Continue reading for our opinions on all the factors to take into account when determining if it is worthwhile to construct a guest home for your property and how you should value creating an ADU.

How much does an ADU increase in property value?

The value addition of an ADU would be influenced by nearby comparable transactions, much like in more general real estate. A property like an ADU often costs 35% more than a home without one in metropolitan cities, according to a report from Porch.

Since the house would be valued alongside other homes with ADUs, building an ADU for your property usually raises its resale value. Your home’s worth will be established by an appraiser using the prices of homes that include ADUs. Properties with an ADU typically sell for higher money since they have more usable space overall and an income-producing unit. It makes sense.

Although the widespread adoption of ADUs is still in its early stages, it is getting simpler to locate homes offered with guest houses. ADUs can now be included in an appraiser’s evaluation of a property according to new appraisal criteria, which should start producing more uniform ADU valuations.

Your property’s value will inevitably rise as a result of an authorized ADU, both because of the additional square footage it adds to the property and as an asset that can generate income. An unpermitted ADU or small house won’t show up on the title report, and the property owner will not be able to see the value of the rental income the unit generates.

Factors to consider in investing in an ADU

Here are some factors to consider when investing in an ADU:

  1. Local regulations and zoning laws. Before investing in an ADU, it is important to research local regulations and zoning laws to determine if building an ADU is allowed in your area. Some cities and states have specific rules and requirements for ADUs, such as size limits, parking requirements, and architectural standards.
  2. Cost of construction. Building an ADU can be an expensive investment, so it is important to have a clear understanding of the cost of construction, including materials, labor, permits, and inspections. Make sure to get multiple bids from contractors and factor in any unexpected expenses that may arise during the construction process.
  3. Financing options. Consider financing source options for the construction of an ADU. Some homeowners may be able to finance the project using a home equity loan, a second mortgage, or a personal loan.
  4. Quality of the finished product. The quality of the finished product is a key factor to consider when investing in an ADU. Make sure to work with a reputable contractor and use high-quality materials to ensure that the finished product is durable and meets your expectations.
  5. Potential rental income. If you plan to rent out the ADU, it is important to research the local rental market to determine what type of rent you can charge. Consider factors such as location, size, and amenities when estimating potential rental income.
  6. Maintenance and repair costs. An ADU requires ongoing maintenance and repairs, so it is important to factor in these costs when considering an investment in an ADU.
  7. Long-term value. Consider the long-term value of the ADU. An ADU can increase the overall value of a property, but it is important to research the local real estate market to determine the potential impact on property value.
  8. Insurance. Make sure to have proper insurance coverage for the ADU, including liability insurance, fire insurance, and property insurance.
  9. Return on Investment. The most valuable asset for homeowners is their home. Estimate return on investment (ROI) if you intend to rent out your ADU to get an idea of your monthly cash flow. By dividing the return on an investment through the cost of the investment, ROI is a metric used to assess how much may be gained from a particular venture. Since ROI is expressed as a percentage, you can compare the returns of several investments before making a decision to invest.

By considering these factors, numbers and conducting thorough research, you can make an informed decision when investing in an ADU. It is also recommended to speak with an experienced contractor and a financial advisor to get professional advice and guidance on the investment.

The benefits of having an ADU


An Accessory Dwelling Unit, commonly known as an ADU, is a separate living space within or attached to a single-family home. ADUs are becoming increasingly popular due to the numerous benefits they offer. If you’re considering adding an ADU to your property, here are some of the benefits to keep in mind:

  • Additional Income. Renting out an ADU can provide a steady stream of additional income. An opportunity to expand your portfolio. Whether you use the extra income to cover your mortgage payments or to save for future expenses, having an ADU can help increase your financial stability.
  • Flexible Living Options. An ADU provides flexible living options for homeowners. You can use the extra space for aging parents, adult children, guests, or as a rental unit. An ADU can also be used as a home office or a private space for hobbies and other activities.
  • Increased Property Value. An ADU can increase the value of your property by providing additional living space. This can be especially beneficial if you’re looking to sell your home in the future.
  • Environmentally Friendly. ADUs are often designed to be energy-efficient, which can help reduce your carbon footprint and lower your energy bills. Many ADUs also use sustainable materials and green technologies, making them a great choice for environmentally conscious homeowners.
  • Space for Aging Parents. An ADU provides a convenient and comfortable living space for aging parents or other family members who need to be close by but still have their own private space.
  • Improved Quality of Life. An ADU can provide an improved quality of life for homeowners by reducing stress and providing extra living space. Whether you use it for additional storage, a home office, or a guest room, an ADU can help make your home more functional and comfortable.

An ADU offers a variety of benefits, including additional income, flexible living options, increased property value, environmentally friendly design, and improved quality of life. If you’re considering adding an ADU to your property, it’s worth considering all of the potential benefits and making an informed decision.


In conclusion, an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) can be a wise investment for homeowners who have the necessary lot space and obtain the required permit. With its potential for additional rental income, increased property value, and flexible living options, an ADU can provide a range of benefits. However, it’s essential to consider the costs associated with building and maintaining an ADU, including the cost of permits, the impact on the lot, and other expenses.

When evaluating whether an ADU is a good investment, it’s important to thoroughly research local regulations and building codes, assess the financial feasibility of the project, and take into account the potential return on investment. With careful planning and attention to detail, an ADU can be a smart investment that provides long-term benefits for homeowners.

Get started on your ADU investment today

Are you considering investing in an ADU but not sure if it’s a good idea? With the increasing demand for rental properties and the potential for additional income, investing in an ADU can be a smart move for homeowners. But how can you be sure it’s the right choice for you? Don’t miss out on the potential benefits of an ADU investment.

Ready to get started? Get started on your ADU investment journey today with Dryve Design Group, Inc. and let us help you unlock the full potential of your property. Contact us now to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards realizing your dream! Or, if you’re ready to move forward, our pre-designed complete sets of floor plans are available for purchase today!