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In the last few years, the housing industry has undergone a few changes.

We’ve witnessed housing shortages in major cities catapult rents and home prices sky-high.

Then the price of building materials alarmingly soared even higher.

And more people seek to simplify their lives and gain independence by downsizing into tiny homes.

In turn, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) have popped up all over the country.


Well, ADUs have a number of benefits:

  • Bring in additional income with a renter
  • Allow you to take care of the kids and mom & dad in one fell swoop
  • Grant you financial independence and improve your quality of life in a tiny home
  • Increase the value of your home

How could 1.4 million American ADU owners be wrong?

But we should back up for a minute.

What is an ADU?

And should you build one on your property?

The Low-Down on ADUs

ADUs come with many faces and go by many names:

  • A mother-in-law apartment
  • Backyard cottages
  • Garden apartment

Essentially, they’re a small dwelling located on your property.

ADUs can be attached to your home or be a standalone structure.

And they provide a separate living area from your primary home.

It may be fully functional, with a sleeping area, living area, bathroom, and full kitchen.

Or it may have reduced function, including only a bathroom, kitchenette, and sleeping area. 

Ultimately, ADUs can be:

  • Tiny homes that sit on the main property
  • Apartments that sit over the garage
  • Basement apartments in the main house
  • Home additions on the same level as the main house

Wherever the ADU sits on the property, the homeowner cannot sell this unit separately from the main house.

Mind you, ADUs aren’t legal everywhere.

If you’re interested in building one, be sure to check the ADU ordinance for your particular location.

Zoning rules may vary between municipalities and even within a city just to make it even trickier.

When ADUs are legal, there may be size limitations and regulations about the type of structure you can build.

Why Should You Build an ADU?

People build ADUs for many different reasons.

For some, it’s a matter of economics.

It’s a great source of income for homeowners living in expensive areas of the country or where there’s an affordable housing shortage.

It also helps aging homeowners on fixed incomes who want to stay in their homes but can’t afford the rising cost of living or increased property taxes.

With an ADU, you now have a rental property.

Others build them so that parents or adult children can live on the same property (it could be a fun circus!).

How Much Does an ADU Cost?

The price tag for building an ADU varies greatly depending on the type of structure and location.

When you want to build a separate structure, your costs could be significantly higher than converting a basement.

It is possible to build a tiny home for $20,000 if you can do the work yourself, but it could also cost more than $100,000 to have someone else build it (yikes).

How Do You Power ADUs?

With an attached ADU, power is usually connected to the same system as the main house.

However, if you build a standalone ADU, the easiest way to supply the unit with power is to set it up with an off-grid solar panel system.

Tiny home off-grid solar systems are designed for small structures, so they work perfectly with ADUs.

When they’re not tied into the grid, the unit is entirely energy-independent.

Get Solar Panels for Accessory Dwelling Units

At Unbound Solar®, we have everything you need to hook ADUs up with solar power.

We’re happy to assist you in determining which system works best for your ADU.

Contact us today to learn more about our tiny home solar panels and how we can help you go solar!

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