It seems like a lot of homeowners in Long Beach are talking about accessory dwelling units (ADUs) right now. Either they know someone who recently added one to their property or they are thinking about doing it themselves. There are several factors contributing to ADUs being a hot topic in Long Beach right now.
First of all, with soaring rental rates in Long Beach, homeowners are seeing a backyard unit as a way to make some extra income. The potential ROI with ADUs makes them a very promising investment! Second, the State of California recently made it a whole lot easier to build ADUs on residential properties by reducing regulations and fees. Given the shortage of affordable housing in California, the government decided that homeowners should be encouraged to erect rental units on their properties as a way to help ease the shortage. Third, with an aging population and the soaring cost of retirement facilities, many people are considering moving their parents onto their properties to save money. Finally, having a property with a separate rental unit on it can greatly increase the value of the property. No matter how you look at it, building an ADU on your property can be a great investment!
As an architect, my main focus when it comes to ADUs is on their design. In order to get the maximum return out of an ADU, the design needs to be well thought out.
As an architect, I start by considering who will be living in the ADU. An ADU designed for your aging mother should look a lot different than one that will serve as guest quarters for out-of-town visitors or be rented to college students. Obviously, if you know exactly who will be living in the ADU, you can get their input and have it built according to their needs and preferences. But if you’ll be renting it out to strangers, it needs to be designed in a way that appeals to a broader audience. A skilled architect who is familiar with ADUs can help you in either scenario.
ADUs tend to be small, but that doesn’t mean they have to be less functional than a typical housing unit. Smart design choices can make even a very small ADU comfortable for its occupants. However, there are often compromises that have to be made, and that’s where an architect can be helpful. They can help you weigh the pros and cons of decisions relating to the space design.
It’s not just the floorplan and interior details that need to be considered. A Long Beach architect will also take into consideration things like access to the ADU and privacy concerns (for both the ADU’s occupants and the occupants of the main house). Even if you’re renting out your ADU to family members, do you really want them walking by your master bedroom window every time they come and go? Or do you want your renters staring into your family room as they cook dinner every night?
Finally, an architect will thoughtfully consider the exterior design of the ADU. Its design should complement the architecture, colors, and materials of the main house. The last thing you want is for your ADU to stick out like a sore thumb on your property, but that’s exactly what can happen if you buy a ready-made ADU design off the internet or purchase an ADU kit. (Yes, those exist, and they’re as bad as they sound.)
Even though ADUs are smaller than typical residences, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be well designed. Working with a Long Beach architect will help you get everything you want in an ADU, and maybe even some things you didn’t know you needed!