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The Benefits of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) In The San Francisco Bay Area

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have gained in popularity over the last several years and for good reason. You may better recognize ADUs as “in law units”, “mother-in-law apartments”, “casitas”, “granny pods” and “granny flats”. No matter what you call them, interest and demand has been so great that even state and local municipalities have taken notice and started easing permitting regulations to accommodate for them.

One of the biggest reasons for the increase in demand has been due to rising housing costs. And while so many are struggling with this issue, it is our baby boomer generation who have real concern over the cost of downsizing and/or retirement home care. On fixed income, housing choices are often limited to none. This generation is often looking to avoid retirement communities or delay that move as long as possible. They want to age in place and stay as independent as possible for as long as possible. Partly because of cost but also, they have a real concern regarding the quality of care at many retirement homes. Those fears have only increased with the recent onset of Covid-19. If ever was a time to explore the benefits of ADUs for this population, now is it.

As it relates to the San Francisco Bay area, there is a real shortage of space, affordable land for construction and affordable housing in general. This has been the case for years and historically the easiest way to add living space or an ADU was to finish a basement, garage or storage space that was already a part of an existing dwelling. And until 2017, those were often illegal. However, since 2017, California recognized that ADUs fill the gap in affordable housing and started to loosen restrictions on them. ADU legislation has evolved and in 2020 state laws were changed to allow for detached auxiliary buildings to be constructed within envelopes of existing properties. Interestingly, the state is also incentivizing the construction of ADUs by waiving impact fees and shortening the approval times. The ease in regulations and recognition of ADUs as an affordable housing alternative is loosening the bottle neck to allow for timelier construction and the benefits are being felt for our aging population.

At Clear Creek Build of Alamo California, they have recognized the benefits of ADUs and have first-hand knowledge and experience with the process. It has been their experience that building an ADU for an aging family member helps improve quality of life for everyone involved. For the senior family member, an ADU provides the privacy and independence they desire yet allows for easy access to family for informal support care and company when needed. They have the ability to cook for themselves or the flexibility to participate in a family dinner or activity on occasion. Another benefit for seniors revolves around transportation and commuting. Often seniors can no longer drive, so living in an ADU allows for family visits without the commute and transportation from family if needed for errands. On the other hand, there is added convenience for the care givers in that commute time is cut down when having to take grandma to the doctor or store. Care givers also benefit by having the security and peace of mind knowing that their loved one is safe and being taken care of properly.

Clear Creek Build of Alamo California is proud to see that their construction of ADU’s are having a positive impact. One recent benefactor of a newly constructed ADU shared her experience in how her ADU has increased her quality of life. Ms. Tillapaugh, a grandmother of 3 worked with her daughter and son in law to build an ADU on their property. She stated, “It's really comforting being so close to my family. I get to see my grandkids and invite everyone over for dinner. I feel independent but with the security of having them right there.” And Ms. Tillapaugh’s daughter and son in law agree that they feel more secure in knowing that mom is close in case she needs a quick response.

If you want to know more about the construction of an ADU and explore the possibilities, contact Clear Creek Build of Alamo California. They are eager to share their knowledge, committed to providing clear guidance and answer all of your questions. They are your ADU experts and here to help you and your family make the move to this great alternative for your loved ones to age in place!

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