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Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) or Granny Flats are one of the smartest investments you can make as a San Diego homeowner. ADUs is the official acronym, but they are also referred to as granny flats, in-law suites, and casitas. Regardless of the name, a new ADU can solve many problems while adding value to your property.

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In Spanish, casita means “little house”. In the home remodeling and home building world, ADUs are essentially small guest houses

Typically 600 – 1200 square feet and include a separate entrance, bathroom and small kitchen or kitchenette

Granny Flats can be detached or attached to the main house, and are typically found in the front of properties, but can also be located in the backyard.  ADUs are often referred to as Mother-in-law-Quarters, guest houses, or granny flats and can be a great way to make your home work for multiple generations.

While you’ll likely find casitas in higher value homes (a quick Zillow search reveals that homes with advertised casitas average will over 2 million dollars), anyone with the space and budget should consider adding one.  This is especially true in areas and price ranges where a guest house is expected.  Areas like Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, Carmel Valley, Del Sur, Poway, Fairbanks Ranch, Carmel Canyon, and La Jolla Farms all feature real estate that is in high demand.

Which ADU is Right for Me?There are three main types of Accessory Dwelling Units to consider

Detached, attached, and repurposed existing.
• The typical ADU is built in this style, usually in the backyard.
• A separate, standalone building, detached ADUs cannot be physically connected to the main residence in any way.
• The maximum ADU size is not linked to the size of the main dwelling, allowing for more freedom in design.
• Detached ADUs offer the most privacy for everyone on the property.
• Existing buildings such as detached garages can be easily converted into detached ADUs.
• Attached ADUs are similar to building an addition to your home, as they are connected to the main residence.
• However, attached ADUs must be internally isolated from the main residence, with their own entrance, bathroom and kitchen.
• The max size of attached ADUs is connected to the size of the primary dwelling. Attached ADUs cannot exceed 50-percent of the total floor area of the primary dwelling.
• Attached ADUs provide a moderate amount of privacy while still allowing easy access to and from both dwellings, which makes them a great idea for housing elderly parents or if you want to use the ADU as a gym or office.
• Repurposed Existing ADUs convert a room or space within the primary residence into an independent living space.
• Converting your garage, attic, or basement are all options for Repurposed Existing ADUs.
• You cannot change the original floor plan of the space when converting into an ADU.
• Repurposed Existing ADUs provide the least amount of privacy but are the most convenient to access and are usually the cheapest option for construction.

No matter which option you choose, a few requirements must be met.
• All ADUs must be at least 150 square-feet.
• All ADUs must be no larger than 1200 square-feet.
• All ADUs must have a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen area.