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Updated: Mar 14, 2023

Wait. What the heck is an ADU anyway? Well, technically it stands for Accessory Dwelling Unit, but also goes by a slew of less Stepford sounding nicknames. Whether it's the mother-in-law house (which I kind of find a bit morbid) or, the more inclusive in-law house, granny flat, casita, or micro cottage, they all fall under the title of ADU.

So why all the chatter recently? There's a few reasons and I bet you can guess one of them! Yep. Covid. Besides the obvious need for home offices the last two years have created, people are looking to be closer to family, make a side income, or just have an escape. The tremendous loss of jobs also created a housing crisis with many people losing their homes or apartments. However, Portland is no stranger to in filling.

Portland has seen a surge in ADU's over the last decade or so, and that growth continues even more now due to our new "pandemic lifestyles". The initial reason for the increase was due largely in part to Portland's views on city sprawl versus in-filling. Portland has long encouraged growth with-in our city's existing borders. To support this we have seen changes in code restrictions and financial incentives since the mid 1990's with the most recent changes happening in August. The city doesn't show any sign of holding back incentives and zone changes any time soon. In an article from this past September, The Oregonian spells out Portland's plans to expand the Residential Infill Project through July of 2022. Combine this working from home, downsizing, restrictions on capacity at gyms, and saving money by not traveling and you have yourself a buzzword.

(Lake Oswego ADU by Build Forward Construction)

Now, of course, to make all of this legit, the city needs to be involved. So while the aforementioned nick-names for an ADU exist, they don't automatically pass as an ADU. Qualification goes beyond having another, smaller, residence on a property. An ADU is considered a single family residence that is approved and permitted by the city, with the intention to not only provide additional housing within city limits but also income to the owner of the property. If you are considering a home office, a studio, or an at home gym, taking the extra step of permitting and complying with regulations could offer a nice return on investment by having the option to use the space for extra income as well. You certainly don't have to charge your mother-in-law rent (in fact we aren't sure we would even suggest it!) but the option is there. Of course there are guidelines for livability including ceiling height, insulation and ventilation, separate entrances and the like that differentiate an ADU from a standard remodel or new build. So if you've been considering an ADU or just have questions on what it all means, we can certainly help you in that area. We have two ADU certified specialists on our team that can't wait to talk to you!

The Lake Oswego ADU (pictured above) is currently in construction, but sooooo close to wrapping up! This ADU features a two car garage with plenty of storage on the first level. The second level is a one bedroom/ one bath apartment overlooking the river with a large living room/work area and an open concept kitchen dining area. It's the perfect little guest house or rental unit in an absolutely stunning location.

And, a glimpse of our Southeast ADU...

(Southeast Portland ADU by Build Forward Construction)

Designed for rental use, this ADU features a large open kitchen/living area 1.5 baths. The upstairs boasts a large bedroom, plenty of storage, laundry room, and a deck with a dreamy SE Portland neighborhood view.

The city codes of Portland can be a lot to break down, but as we mentioned earlier, Portland has long been keen on in-fill so it is 100% possible. Again, we have two, soon to be three, certified ADU project managers on staff who are great at finding solutions and getting stuff done!

Questions? Drop us a line anytime!

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