ADUs have been on a major upward trajectory in recent years, but with any new growing trend comes the haters. They’re what we like to call NIMBY (not in my backyard).
These are typically people holding strong to the traditional values of a single-family home and concerned that ADUs will be the end of it all. As one cranky homeowner so graciously put it:
”This is an effort, I’m convinced, to get rid of single-family zoning and all the things that many people associate with single-family zoning and open up neighborhoods to allow more people. It’s often talked about as those of us who’ve worked all our lives and own a home owe other people the right to live near us or on our property in an affordable house.”
Sure. ADUs are shaking up the housing landscape a bit, but the future of single-family homes is staying put. Plus, they’re bringing along a lot more benefits than problems.
Let’s debunk a couple of these complaints.
Problem #1: Overcrowding and the End of Single-Family Neighborhoods
A lot of people hear “increased housing density” and immediately go into panic mode envisioning bustling loud traffic that threatens their quiet suburban surroundings.
We can almost guarantee that ADUs won’t lead to this. Yes, ADUs will increase housing density, but it’s actually a good thing. Increased housing density means those that are building their ADUs will have to pay a bit more in taxes. Those taxes will go towards improving the schools in your neighborhood, which we can all agree is a great thing.
Also, think about it this way. A lot of neighborhoods are actually under crowded. As we’ve seen with the ADU and tiny house movement, there’s a growing trend of people realizing they don’t need a 7,000 sq ft lot to live comfortably. Adding extra homes where there’s plenty of unutilized space is just what California needs in the midst of this housing shortage.
Problem #2: Parking Problems
A big complaint we hear is that converting garages will mean more cars on the streets. If you’ve lived in California for over six months you’ve probably noticed that no one uses their garage for cars.
There is actually no evidence that ADUs will lead to a spike in parking problems.
ADUs are small homes that are usually meant to house only one or two people, not a huge family. Odds are, one extra car on your street won’t make a huge difference.
Compare that to the parking problems you’ll have to face if a brand new three-story apartment building makes its way into your neighborhood.
Seattle, the catalyst of ADUs, hasn’t had any issues with parking either as far as we’ve heard. John Shaw, a strategic advisor with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection who focuses on parking impacts said, “The likelihood of car ownership decreases as house size gets smaller.
Problem #3: Decrease in Property Values
ADUs actually increase your property value.
Think about it. When it comes time to sell your home, you’ll have plenty of interested buyers that’d love to use the ADU for family, passive rental income, or just a nice little getaway.
A study done by the Appraisal Journal found that ADUs generally contributed about 25% to 34% of each property’s assessed value. Furthermore, adding an ADU demonstrated an average of 51% increase in resale value.
And mentioned before, increasing property values means more taxes go towards improving schools and community centers in your neighborhood. It’s a win-win situation!
Problem #4: Construction is Loud and Messy
If you have a great experienced general contractor, they should know how to keep noise and clutter to a minimum like setting a building schedule when neighbors will likely be away at work and renting a fence to prevent debris from drifting into lawns.
You can even invite your neighbors over for an open house and barbeque when it’s all completed as a thank you for putting up with construction.
You may still have some cranky neighbors on your hands, but as long as you have all of your permits and follow regulations, there’s nothing they can do to stop your project.
May we suggest baking them some homemade bread?
Problem #5: Expensive to Build
Building any home is going to be expensive, but when you look at your return on investment, the numbers don’t seem so scary anymore.
One of our clients has already done the math and the numbers are looking great. Josh from Los Angeles is building a cozy 600 sq ft one-bedroom standalone ADU in his backyard. The total cost of the project is going to come out to about $160,000.
Don’t panic yet!
Hear us out.
After doing some quick research, Josh finds that one-bedroom apartments in his neighborhood rent for about $1600.
If he decides to rent his for about the same, that means he’ll be bringing in an extra $900 per month after paying his monthly loan amount. Not bad! You’ll pay off your loan in no time too.
What if you’re not using the ADU rental and instead using it to house an elderly family member?
You’re still in luck.
Although you’re not racking in the big bucks by renting, you’re actually saving a substantial amount by not putting your elderly loved one into a nursing home.
Let’s be real, nursing homes are expensive! Plus, conditions can be questionable and visiting hours are limited.
In San Jose, over a ten year period, you can expect to pay over $600,000 to house your loved one in a decent facility.
Why do that when you can keep grandma right in your own backyard in a cozy home that was built just for her for a fraction of nursing home costs like this Maxable client did.
Problem #5: ADU Regulations are Confusing
Okay, we kind of agree with this one. With so many changes happening within just the last year, it can be hard to keep track of it all, BUT Maxable can provide you with all of the information, resources, and guidance that you need to complete your project.
In fact, Maxable’s very own Lead Designer has been involved in a lot of ADU state regulations and ordinances that have made building a unit on your property a whole lot easier.
It all begins with a free ADU Planning Phone Call. Talk to you soon!