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Keeping Family Close: Increasing Number of ADU’s Largely Housing Parents of the Owner

Is there a cottage for grandma? Covid-19 has led to a trend across much of the country of increasing number of ADU’s where people want that second mini house whether it’s to keep the grandparents close or to have room for adult children who have moved back home.

In fact, according to data from the National Association of Realtors, this category of housing rose to 15 percent of total purchases across the country. 

27 percent of agents in a recent report from the real estate experts at HomeLight are seeing this trend, too. If you are considering this addition for your current home or are looking for a new home, here are some details to consider.

Small homes with many uses

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are an obvious choice for the grandparents (as 61 percent of agents reported across the country), but even if you don’t have multiple generations living on your property, there are some other reasons to consider this extra housing option.

Financial circumstances have changed for some people due to Covid-19, and agents shared that some homeowners want an ADU for their adult children who moved home due to financial reasons (35 percent) or to bring in some extra income with short-term renters (32 percent of agents shared).

With people getting used to working from home, the home office is another popular use for an ADU as 41 percent of agents shared. 

More than just a backyard cottage

In our market, cottages are the most common type of ADU, as 43 percent of agents shared in the HomeLight survey.

If you have a large backyard this is an ideal choice at it gives everyone the privacy that they need. In the last year, homeowners have also learned to get creative with their spaces, turning garages into ADUs.

In fact, the second most common type of ADU in our markets is garage conversions, whether attached or detached, to create a separate living space, as 26 percent of agents talked about.

Does an ADU really add value?

If you are thinking about upgrading with an ADU, beyond the convenience factor of having extra room for your extended family or your home office, there are some ways that it can add value if you are thinking about selling your house.

But how much value will it add?

In our region, the average value increase for a home with an AUD in our current market is more than $42,000 up from $30,000 in March 2020. 

What is an ADU in Seattle

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a separate living space within a house or on the same property as an existing house. These units are not legal unless they have been established through a permit process. A legally permitted unit in the home is called an attached accessory dwelling unit (AADU). A legally permitted unit on the property (but not within the home) is called a detached accessory dwelling unit (DADU) or backyard cottage. Tiny houses, with foundations, are considered DADUs.

Note: Tiny houses on wheels are treated like camper trailers. You cannot live in a tiny house on wheels (or similar equipment such as RVs and boats) on lots in Seattle city limits. If your tiny house has wheels you need to follow parking rules for large vehicles. (

Increasing Number of ADU’s Summary

If you are a buyer who is looking for a home with an ADU, there are now more properties with this amenity, especially in our market.

If you are thinking about adding an ADU — whether it’s a cottage, garage addition, or an add-on within your home — there are some compelling reasons why this could be an investment worth going for when selling your home.

The flexibility of an ADU is that it’s not just for the grandparents, it can work for whatever serves you and your family the best. 

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