Are you thinking of adding an accessory dwelling unit to your property? Building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a great solution for many Portland, Oregon residents who want to live close to family members, add value to their property, or supplement their income by renting.
Today, let’s look at what it means to add an ADU to your property and why Portland is such a great place to build one.
What Is an ADU?
What actually is an accessory dwelling unit, and what makes it different than a regular home addition?
An ADU is a secondary residence with its own living space, including a kitchen and bathroom. Basically, it has to function independently of the main home. An ADU can be built on any residential property as a standalone structure, or attached to the main home. You might choose to:
- Convert part of your current house, like a basement, attic, or garage
- Build an attached addition with its own separate living space
- Add an entirely new building on your lot
The key is that accessory dwelling units need to be completely separate living spaces, so they can’t share a bathroom or kitchen with the main home. ADUs also need to be smaller than your main home’s living area. Specifically, an ADU’s square footage can’t be bigger than 75% of your main home’s living area or 800 square feet (whichever is less).
Why Is Portland a Great Place for Accessory Dwelling Units?
If you live anywhere near the City of Portland, you’ve probably noticed that it has become a pretty popular place to live. ADUs offer an affordable housing option for:
- Parents and in-laws
- Grown up children
In today’s real estate market, some people find that building an accessory dwelling unit is cheaper than buying a new house. ADUs can provide a great, inexpensive place to live, while also building wealth for the property owner.
Portland also has fewer restrictions and regulations on ADUs than many other cities, and even offers some financial incentives. For example, you don’t have to pay system development charges (which can be substantial) for ADU projects as long as your property isn’t used as an Accessory Short-Term Rental (ASTR) for at least 10 years. In other words, if you’re going to rent out your ADU, you’ll need to rent it on a month-to-month basis or longer — otherwise you have to pay system development charges.
ADU Benefits in Portland and Beyond
Staying Close to Loved Ones
ADUs are a great option for families who want to live as close as possible but still be independent. Even if your loved one(s) won’t be living there full time, an ADU can also act as an excellent guest house when friends and family are in town.
Downsizing without Moving
If you’d prefer a smaller home but you don’t want to leave the neighborhood you love, an ADU can be a great way to downsize without having to move or sell your main home. ADUs can also be a great aging-in-place option, since it’s easy to build them with universal design principles and any specific features you choose. Plus, friends or family members can move into your main home and become your next door neighbors.
Boosting Property Value and Providing Income
When done right, building an ADU adds significant value to your property and gives you a good return on your investment when it comes time to sell. Until then, you have the opportunity to create an income stream by renting your ADU.
ADUs tend to be more sustainable than full-size homes, partly because they’re small. They require fewer materials to build and they tend to result in lower energy consumption over time when it comes to utilities like gas, water, and electricity. You can make an ADU even more environmentally friendly, depending on how you build it too.
Are you planning to build an accessory dwelling unit in Portland?
Whatever your reason for putting in an ADU, you probably have ideas about how you want it to look, function, and feel. At Hamish Murray Construction, we’re dedicated to your vision. We bring careful planning and architectural integrity to every project and have extensive experience with ADUs, remodels, additions, and ground-up construction.
Tell us how we can build you the ADU of your dreams! Contact us today to talk about your project and ask us your questions.