What is an additional dwelling unit (ADU)? Better known as granny flats, additional dwelling units or ADUs are self-contained living spaces within a property. Granny flats, which are also called casitas, ohana (in Hawaii) and in-law apartments, have the same amenities as the main house such as a kitchen and a bathroom. These, along with other necessities like electricity and water, allow the occupants to live independently of the main house. Building an ADU in your property is one of the best ways to increase your living space without using cheap tactics.

Granny flats got their name from the fact that such living spaces were traditionally built by homeowners for aging parents. Most ADUs fall into the tiny house category to make efficient use of available space on the property and for easier maintenance. Apart from aging family members, granny flats can also serve as living spaces for a young adult member of the family, in-house nannies, extended relatives, and out-of-town guests.

So, how can granny flats increase your living space? The following types of ADUs explain how.

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The Built-in Granny Flat

As the term suggests, built-in or in-home granny flats are constructed in available floor spaces within the home. It is the easiest and perhaps, most cost-effective way of adding living space in your property. Staying true to the premise of ADUs, an in-home granny flat should have its own kitchen and bathroom and a separate entrance for the occupant. This type of granny house is the best way to circumvent any building codes or neighborhood regulations.

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Home Extension ADU

Instead of using existing space within the home, the additional living space is constructed along any viable section of the home’s exterior. Building this type of granny flat is also easy and cost-effective. Utilities to the extra living space may or may not be an extension of the main home’s connections. Because the floor area the home will be extended, the additional structure may be subject to building codes.

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Detached Granny Flat

A detached granny flat is essentially a separate structure from the main house. This type of ADU has many advantages over the other two types. One main advantage is that it provides the occupants with the most privacy. The occupants can also come and go, without disturbing the residents of the main house.

Building a granny flat on your property has many advantages. If you’re planning on using the flat to care for aging parents, it will help you save the money that you will otherwise be spending to care for them in a nursing home and assisted-living facilities. A version of the granny flat is the granny pod, where the living space is equipped with high-tech monitoring equipment and timed medicine dispenser to make it easier for you to care for your parents.

Apart from providing accommodations to family or friends, homeowners can rent out the flat for an additional source of revenue. Having another tenant in the property will also provide it with more security, especially if the flat is located on the back or side of the property. The extra living space will also increase the value of your property.

From the ways that you can add more living space on your property, you don’t need to resort to cheap tricks. While an ADU may require you to spend for its construction, its long-term benefits will make your initial investment well worth it.