Why You Should Build an ADU

January 9, 2024


ADU builder

ADUs go by many names: guest house, in-law suite, casita, and many more. ADU stands for accessory dwelling unit, which means a smaller home that is “accessory” to your primary residence. Relevant Buildings is an ADU builder that specializes in building detached ADUs, which are stand-alone homes separate from the main home. Detached ADUs are typically placed in the backyard and are about 800 sq. ft. or less.

We love ADUs for a number of reasons. They are sustainable, offer extra living space, and can end up paying for themselves. Over the past 10 years, both Portland and Seattle have seen an increase in ADU builds. This is largely because local governments have reformed their zoning codes to expand people’s housing options. This means that it is easier than ever to build an ADU. Here are a few ways that building an ADU can benefit your living situation.

ADUs are a Sustainable Housing Option

Accessory dwelling units are a sustainable living option because they are smaller than traditional single-family homes. This means they use less material to build and have a smaller building footprint. ADUs also typically use less energy than a standard single-family home due to their size. They also share the land and utilities devoted to the primary home, which means they require fewer resources to build and maintain. On top of the sustainability benefits that come from small living, our container home ADUs take sustainability a step further.

To start with, our primary building material is upcycled shipping containers. As a result, we use less lumber than standard stick-built homes.  We build all of our home to Energy Trust Standards. These standards include a thermal shell that is 10% higher than code, energy-efficient heating & cooling systems, energy star appliances, LED lighting, and other considerations for an eco-friendly ADU.

Provide an Independent Living Space for Family

accessory dwelling units guest house portland build an ADU

Ramona 40 – Living & Kitchen

ADUs are an excellent option for people looking for private, affordable housing option. They offer the independence of having your own living space, yet are close enough to the main home should the need for help arise. They are a fraction of the cost of buying a standard home. If you’re building a new ADU, you can customize the space to accommodate your loved one’s physical needs. Building an ADU in your backyard also means getting to spend more time together while maintaining a degree of privacy.

Many of our customers come to us looking for a home for their aging parent or for a family member with disabilities. Some aging parents decide to sell their main home to live in an ADU on their child’s lot. This becomes a long-term investment for their child because the ADU increases their property value and can be used as a rental later on. Another customer who had an adult child with disabilities decided to build the ADU for their child to live in. When the parents move out of the main house in the future, their child will be able to rent the home or ADU as a source of income. In both of these scenarios, an ADU proved to be a perfect solution.

Offer a Private Guest House for Visitors

If you frequently host family or friends who stay overnight, you’ve probably had times where you wanted a little more privacy. Perhaps you have found yourself feeling cramped in your current house while hosting, and wished for extra space. An ADU provides a solution to both of those challenges. You and your guests will undoubtedly appreciate the extra space and privacy of a backyard ADU when they come to visit. When you aren’t hosting guests, you can use the ADU as a private space to get some work done or rent it out as a short-term rental, like these customers.

Shipping container home living room

Teahouse 20 – Living, Dining, & Kitchen

ADUs Pay For Themselves

ADUs can pay for themselves in a couple of different ways. First, adding an ADU to your lot increases your property value. By adding a second, smaller home to your lot, the overall value of your property is going to go up. Second, you can rent out your ADU for an extra source of income. Alternatively, you can downsize from your primary home by moving into your ADU and renting out your main residence. If you’d like to use your ADU part of the year, you can also list it as a short-term rental such as on Airbnb or VRBO.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can build an ADU on your property, be sure to contact us on our Tour/Contact page.


Featured Models: Teahouse 20, Ramona 40