You may have heard quite a bit lately about the need for more housing in the Seattle area and we are seeing a plethora of new hi-rises under construction on both sides of the lake. Many residents are thinking about adding housing units to their properties for a variety of reasons. We talked a bit about this new trend in our April 2013 blog post “Live Small Strategies” and the many reasons a homeowner might make the decision to build a Backyard Cottage. With this on-going growth in our neighborhoods, we want to discuss additional questions you may have if you are considering a BYC or ADU, and help you navigate the process.
Before we start, here are some acronym definitions: a backyard cottage is a separate structure also known as a “detached accessory dwelling unit” or DADU. An “accessory dwelling unit” is a separate living unit within your home that is also called a “mother in law unit” or ADU.
Of course, the first issue to be discuss is who the new home is for? Whether it is for a current use, or flexibility for a different use down the road, the lifestyle of the intended resident(s) will help determine size, structure and design.
Who is the new home for?
–older family member (does it need to be accessible for aging in place?)
–younger family member?
–all of the above at some point or another?
You’ll have to determine some basic background info before you move forward.
Some basic background info to look at:
–is your property eligible (most are)
–how large a unit would work for you?
–typically an additional parking space is required, is there room?
–will you be converting an existing structure such as a garage or building a new one?
–would you like to add a separate living unit within your home, such as your basement?
what are the costs?
–will you borrow money or pay for the investment in a different way?