Aging in Place with an ADU

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Let’s take a look at how an ADU can help you or your loved ones live comfortably in their golden years.

Getting older comes with its challenges, and as we age, our housing needs change. An accessory dwelling unit (ADU), sometimes called a backyard home, casita, in-law suite, or granny flat, can provide a great solution to help you age in place, or to help you care for older parents or relatives. With the right design and construction, you can create an ADU that is both comfortable and safe for your loved ones.

Aging in Place with an ADU

Retiring can be expensive, and for many Americans, increasingly out of reach. An ADU can help you age in place, in the neighborhood you’ve grown to love, in two ways:

  1. You can rent your ADU to a tenant and earn rental income, either as a long-term (12+ month) lease, or as a short-term rental (like Airbnb). In high-demand parts of the Los Angeles area, studio-sized ADUs often rent for $1,800 or more. Our blog post on becoming a landlord can help you learn more about how to manage an ADU rental.
  2. You can “downsize”, by moving into your ADU and renting out your primary home. Renting your primary home can generate even more income than renting the ADU itself. At the same time, you can benefit from living in a brand-new, more compact home.

Whether you decide to rent the ADU or move into it and rent your main home, either option will help you top up your income, making it easier to retire or reduce your working hours.

Design Choices

An ADU can be designed with aging and mobility in mind — from wheelchair accessibility, to a single-story design where there’s no need to climb stairs, to bathrooms designed with grab bars and walk-in showers for safety. A well-designed ADU provides seniors with a housing choice that provides them with proximity to family, as well as privacy and independence. It also can reduce the need to move into an assisted living facility later in life.

When designed well, a new ADU can be the perfect solution for those who want to age in place without compromising on comfort or safety.

ADUs and Property Taxes

We’re often asked about the impact of an ADU project on one’s property taxes. In California, property taxes are calculated based on the assessed value of your home, not the current market value of your home. For this reason, the assessed value of your home is likely to be close to the value of your home at the time you purchased it. Longtime homeowners have therefore locked in relatively low property taxes.

Some customers have shared their concern that building an ADU would cause a reassessment and a sharp increase in property taxes. Fortunately, this isn’t the case.

What actually happens is that when your project is complete, the assessor conducts a “blended assessment” — by simply adding the estimated value of your ADU based on construction costs, to the current assessed value of the property. The value of the primary home is not reassessed.

The bottom line: building an ADU will only involve a modest increase — perhaps $1,500 to $2,500 annually — in your property taxes. Our blog post on ADUs and property taxes has more information.

Caregiver Support with an ADU

Someone who wishes to care for their aging parents or relatives at home can do so by building an ADU in their backyard. This provides caregivers with a sense of security, knowing that their loved one is right next door, while they maintain their independence. Additionally, the cost of building an ADU can be significantly less than the cost of an assisted living facility, making an ADU a more affordable option for many families seeking long-term care solutions.

Additionally, grandchildren benefit tremendously from close proximity to their grandparents. When an ADU serves as a home for Grandma and Grandpa, multigenerational families — now 18% of American households — are able to enjoy more quality time together.  You get to stay close, but not too close.

An elegant solution for a complex problem

With its affordability and flexibility, an ADU can be a great solution for seniors who want to age in place, or anyone who wants to care for older relatives while providing them with comfort, safety, and independence.

Revival Homes can help you plan an ADU project to meet these goals. To get started, reach out today and schedule your free project consultation.


More information about ADUs

No matter where you are in your ADU journey, our educational resources can guide you through every step of the process.

Wondering how to get a $40,000 grant for your ADU project in California? Our guide will tell you everything you need to know about this opportunity to fund your ADU.
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How much will your ADU project cost? This post explains how to create a realistic project budget and manage your costs.
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Let’s take a look at how an ADU can help you or your loved ones live comfortably in their golden years.
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