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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on March 20th, 2023

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What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

Residential | Residential Remodeling

An accessory dwelling unit, usually just called an ADU, is a dwelling structure that's unconnected to the main house on a property. ADUs have the same utilities and features as a normal home, including a bathroom, kitchen, plumbing, sewer connection, and a bedroom. These dwellings have become popular in recent years, perhaps due to the rise of multi-generational families and, in some areas, scarcity of affordable housing.

If you're in search of more living space but don't want to buy a new house, an ADU may be the right choice for your situation. It's important to think through all the factors to consider before making a final decision. Working with a licensed, qualified residential contractor can help ensure that your building project will be a success. In this article, we'll discuss what you should know about ADUs. 

Why Build An ADU?

For some households, building an ADU is a way to create valuable living space without housing too many people in the main structure on the property. ADUs give family groups privacy and space while allowing multiple generations to live close to one another. In a multi-generational setting, an ADU allows family groups to provide one another with support, while they live together in a way that is financially sensible.  

Can an ADU Be Used as a Rental Unit In Connecticut?

Whether your ADU can be used as a rental depends on the regulations in your area. Many towns in Connecticut restrict homeowners from renting out their ADU, however, regulations vary by municipality. Large cities tend to be less restrictive than suburbs or small towns. To find out more about regulations on ADUs in your area, contact your local zoning department or city hall. 

You can also check for more information about ADUs online. ADUs are becoming more common in cities, and with an increase in homeowners building ADUs, some cities and towns may have published information about ADUs on their local government website.

Can I Sell My ADU As a Separate Property?

An ADU is a part of the main home, and cannot be sold separately from the rest of the property. 

What Are the Benefits of an ADU?

There are many benefits of building an ADU, including:

  • More space for the family. Some families use their ADU as a location where older teenage children or adult children can live on the property with relative independence. 
  • Makes multi-generational living more comfortable. ADUs are sometimes called in-law apartments because they provide a comfortable living space for older family members. 
  • Increase the value of your home. An ADU adds valuable living space to your property and can increase the value of your home, should you decide to sell. 
  • Guest accommodations. If your family often welcomes guests to your property, an ADU can provide a comfortable place where guests can stay. 

What Should I Consider Before Building an ADU in CT?

Before building an ADU on your property, ask yourself some basic questions about your plans. Know the answers before making the decision to build. 

What's my long-term plan for the ADU? In some households, ADUs are built as a solution to an immediate problem, such as to accommodate an adult child or a senior family member. Before deciding to build an ADU, consider what you'll do with the structure in the future after the intended occupant no longer lives there.

How will I maintain the ADU? Your ADU will need upkeep and maintenance to continue offering value to your household. Will you have the resources to handle this maintenance?

How will I pay for the ADU? A typical ADU may cost anywhere from $250 to $300 per square foot to build, plus the cost of maintenance and upkeep once constructed. Before choosing to build an ADU, know your budget and how you'll pay for the ADU. 

How Long Does It Take to Build An ADU?

An ADU can take 3 to 5 months to build once construction commences, but you'll have months of conversations and planning with builders and designers before the building begins. All in all, building an ADU can take as little as six months, or as long as a year. 

Is It Hard to Get a Permit for An In-law Apartment?

It's not especially hard to get a permit for an in-law apartment. However, if your city or town forbids homeowners from renting their ADUs, they may require you to sign something stating that you won't collect rent on the building. Your local building department will tell you if this is a requirement. 

How Can I Find a Builder to Construct An ADU?

It's important to hire a contractor with experience building residential structures. If your builder doesn't have the right skills, you could spend a lot of time having your ADU repaired after it's built. 

Some tips: 

  • Meet with several builders before choosing one for your project. Have a list of questions to ask each builder you're considering. 
  • Get referrals from people you know who have had good results building an ADU on their property.
  • Check references.

Hire a contractor with experience building ADUs. Professionalism and customer service are important things to consider when trying to find the right contractor. Look on their website, call their office, and check out their online portfolios. This can help you find the right contractor for your needs. 

Need More Information About Building An Accessory Dwelling Unit? Contact Us

Building an accessory dwelling unit can improve your quality of life at home, improve your home's value, and solve challenges with living arrangements. For more information about building an ADU on your property, contact an experienced Connecticut contractor.

How to Choose a Professional Home Remodeling Contractor

About Kevin Ahern

Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.