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What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit? An ADU is a self-contained residential unit.

Will Cord


Accessory Dwelling Unit with a Brick Wall and a Couch - Daniel Builders

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit? An ADU is a self-contained residential unit. This unit is secondary to the main house on a residential lot. The purpose of an ADU is to be an independent living spot. It will have its own entrance, kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area. An ADU can either be attached or detached from the primary house. Their purpose is to make a home for more people on the same property.

ADUs offer a flexible option for families to care for loved ones in a multi-generational home. They can also create opportunities for rental income, add to your existing area, or even provide office space or a place to start a new business. Not only do they go by different names, but ADUs come in a variety of types.

Conversion ADU - Conversion or Junior ADUs (JADUs) convert an existing space into a separate unit. This could be a basement, garage, screened porch, or even an existing bedroom. Conversion ADUs take advantage of structures that are already present. This can make them much more cost-effective. Not only do they save on construction costs, a conversion ADU can save time since the foundation and framework already exist. Repurposing a garage or basement can make better use of spaces that are not currently utilized or functional. A conversion also allows you to maintain the original style and character of the home. A conversion ADU is both a practical and cost-effective solution. It maximizes available resources while keeping costs lower than a detached unit.

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Attached ADU - An attached ADU takes advantage of an existing wall along the side or back of the original home. An attached ADU has its own entry door and may also have a door on the shared wall for easy access between the two. Attached ADUs often share utilities with the main house. This can be cost-saving for both units. An attached ADU can match the original home, unifying both the style and appearance. Having an attached ADU also provides extra security for both primary and secondary residents. Properties with a limited size are more suited to an attached ADU, especially where a detached ADU is not an option. An attached ADU can also save money compared to constructing a separate building.

Accessory Dwelling Unit Door - Daniel Builders

Detached ADU - A detached ADU offers the most flexibility of all types. There is a clear separation from the main home by a strip of land, which can allow for more yard space to enjoy. It is independent of the primary building, and it doesn't share any walls. A big advantage of this is the privacy and independence it provides. This especially benefits renters or home office users. A detached ADU offers design flexibility without the constraints of the existing home. Since there are no shared walls, it provides a quieter space for both the primary and ADU residents. Detached ADUs offer an excellent opportunity for rental income. Homeowners can rent out a separate unit long-term or short-term. They also can increase the market value of the home.

Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit  - Daniel Builders

Is an ADU a good investment? Whatever type of ADU you choose, there are many benefits to having one.

  1. Increased Housing Options - ADUs increase available housing without new development. They offer flexible solutions to current homeowners. ADUs create office space or generate rental income. They can also provide a home for aging parents or a spot for adult children.

  2. Cost Effective - ADUs can provide affordable housing to a wider range of people. Building an ADU is often more affordable than building a new home.

  3. Multi-Generational Living - ADUs allow you to live with parents or adult children while maintaining privacy and independence for everyone. This can promote stronger bonds within a family and also provide a sense of security and support.

  4. Income Potential - renting an ADU can improve your financial stability or serve as a passive income stream.

  5. Aging in Place - ADUs allow seniors to age in place, maintaining their independence. All this while remaining close to their family or support network.

  6. Sustainable Land Use - ADUs use the existing infrastructure in neighborhoods. This maximizes the use of available space without the need for new development. They support sustainable growth and reduce urban sprawl.

  7. Increase Property Value - The extra living space, income, and flexibility of ADUs lead to a great ROI. ADUs are valuable assets and attract potential buyers.

  8. Community Integration - ADUs add diversity to neighborhoods and foster social connections. They allow for a mix of housing types and individuals with a variety of backgrounds and incomes.

  9. Shorter Commutes and Less Traffic - In urban areas, ADUs help reduce commuting and traffic congestion. People can live closer to where they work or attend school and enjoy local amenities.

Are accessory dwelling units legal? Can I build an ADU on my property? How many accessory dwelling units can you have? The regulations and legal requirements for ADUs in South Carolina vary based on specific locations and local zoning. Consult with local city and county authorities for your specific restrictions. But in general, you need to consider a few things. Keep in mind that rules or regulations can change, so it's up to you to consult your city or county for the most up-to-date information relevant to ADUs in South Carolina.

  1. Zoning Regulations - Zoning ordinances will determine if an ADU is allowed and where it must be located on the property. They will also spell out any other conditions such as size or height limitations. Also be sure to check for setback limits, parking provisions, or density requirements.

  2. Building Codes - ADUs must follow all building codes and regulations for safety in South Carolina. These rules will include structural integrity, electrical systems, plumbing, and fire safety.

  3. Permitting and Approval Process - You must apply for any permits and approvals before you start construction on your ADU. The process may involve submitting detailed plans and paying fees. It also might include meeting specific requirements and getting necessary approvals from local building departments or planning commissions.

  4. Size and Design Limits - Some areas have limits on the size or square footage of ADUs. Restrictions related to the size of the primary home or lot are possible. There also may be designs or styles required that are compatible with the neighborhood.

  5. Occupancy and Rental Regulations - There may be limits on how many people live on the entire property including the ADU. Also, there could be restrictions on whether short-term or long-term rentals are allowed.

  6. Homeowner Association (HOA) Rules - If your property is overseen by a homeowner’s association, check to see if they have rules that govern ADUs. Some HOAs will have restrictions or extra requirements beyond your local regulations.

  7. Utility Connections and Impact Fees - Your ADU should comply with all utility connection requirements. Water, sewage, and electrical all need to be considered as some areas impose impact fees for new ADUs.

What are the cost implications of an ADU? The next consideration for ADUs is financing and construction. Things like location, design, size, materials, and your personal preferences will all play a role in the final outcome of both. Personal funds are a great way to cover the cost of construction, but there are other ways to pay if that isn't an option. Home Equity Loans or a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) are viable alternatives. You can tap into the equity of your own home and borrow against it to cover the cost of construction. You can also explore construction loans which payout in stages as the project goes on. Government programs, grants, or local tax incentives may be offered for ADUs in your area.

Working with professionals like those at Daniel Builders will ensure you follow local building codes. Our Guide-Design-Build process will lead you through developing the plans and getting permits. We also ensure compliance with all Anderson or Greenville building codes. When getting quotes, be sure to include labor, materials, site preparation, and utilities. Establish a timeline that covers any demolition, site prep, foundation work, and framing. Also consider utility installations, interior finishing, and landscaping.

It is very important to note that ADUs may face new or increasing legal and regulatory obstacles as they become more popular. Local rules will have a large influence on the growth of ADUs by either enabling or restricting them. We recommend you consult with local authorities in your specific location to get the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Inside a Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit  - Daniel Builders

In South Carolina, cities like Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and Anderson have seen an increasing interest in ADUs. ADUs address housing shortages, provide affordable homes, and account for changing local demographics. There is a growing interest in all types of ADUs due to the demand for more diverse and flexible living arrangements. Daniel Builders would love to help make yours a reality!

Are you looking to add an accessory dwelling unit to your home? Speak with a Daniel Builders project guide by calling 864.506.5546 and discuss the best path forward for your custom renovation or get your renovation started here!

Read more about Accessory Dwelling Units on our blog: Accessory Dwelling Unit.

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We’d love to hear from you!  Whether you’re ready to start a major remodel, or simply learn more about our process, we’re ready to assist.
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