The flowers are blooming, the trees are leafing, the grass is growing… and everyone is sneezing…. It is that time of year, and time to say Happy Mother’s Day to everyone with two-legged, or four-legged babies!
This week I want to talk a bit about some hot terms in real estate. With the market being so lopsided right now, many people are looking into alternative housing options, but what are they? What do they mean? How does it work? Well, of course I have information on this, and yes, of course I am going to share it ALL with you!
In early April, I had the opportunity to do some filming at, and talk with a couple of wonderful companies in the Battle Ground area who are at the forefront of this type of housing. My first stop was at RG Construction off 72nd Avenue. I met with Richard there to talk about the differences between ADU, Accessory Dwelling Units, and Guesthouses. It was really interesting because while I knew how ADU’s work, I learned quite a bit about the others.
Let’s start with the ADU (aka Attached Dwelling Unit). Most of these ADU’s are really called RADU’s as they are in rural areas. I live in a rural area, and in 2018, my family built a RADU and we were one of the first of these permits in Clark County. The RADU is called Rural Attached Dwelling Unit because one wall of the RADU MUST be attached to the main dwelling. No friends… a breezeway doesn’t count. We have a 750 sq ft apartment attached to one wall of our garage. It is a full 2-bedroom apartment with a full kitchen, 1 bathroom with soaking tub/tiled shower, and laundry. Well, if we are being technical, it is a 1 bedroom & den since we opened the 2nd bedrooms closet to the hallway instead of the laundry closet. A legal bedroom must have a closet, and egress windows for entry/exit in case of disaster. The size of the ADU can be no more than 40% of the size of the main structure/home. We didn’t go quite that big. You will hear some people still call them ADU, but it does get confusing because of our next option.
While I knew, from my personal experience, all about the RADU, Richard at RG Construction Services filled me in on some of the finer points of the Accessory Dwelling Unit, which is the urban option of the ADU. Where a RADU is Rural and must have an attaching wall to the main structure/home, the urban ADU can be a separate unit no larger than 800 square feet. An ADU, like the RADU, can be a full home with a full kitchen, bathroom, laundry, etc. The difference, of course is your area… Rural (attached dwelling) vs Urban (accessory dwelling). I have a few clients who have turned a detached garage, or larger shed/small shop on their property into an ADU. This is a terrific option for converting what is already there, or you can build a new one.
The 3rd option that we talked about with RG Construction Services was the guesthouse. This was very interesting because there is no size limit on guesthouses, but there are a few limitations… of course… right? A guest house is usually a detached structure that is a full home in every way except for the kitchen. A guest home cannot have an exterior stove exhaust and has a smaller kitchen sink area. Yep… no stove, and a smaller sink. A guesthouse can have any size fridge. It can have a microwave. It can have a countertop convection oven. It can be a full house with laundry, dishwasher, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc…. it just can’t have a stove. So… that is the downside to the guesthouse, but the plus side again is that there isn’t a size restriction to the guesthouse, and that is pretty cool.
So… what about ‘tiny homes’? Well, I spent some time with Derek at Wolf Industries in Battle Ground, and the name ‘tiny home’ can be really deceiving. Yes, a few of their homes are pretty small at only 300 & 400 square feet, but they have a 3-bedroom 1230 square foot home as well! One thing Derek really emphasized was that these are NOT manufactured homes. They are modular homes that are built entirely in their huge shop in Battle Ground in an assembly line type process. The buyer is still part of the process of choosing flooring, cabinets, etc. The homes are then brought to your property where they are placed on a foundation and hooked up to utilities. This is a great option for many people for an ADU, or a guesthouse especially if they aren’t considering converting what is already on the property. This wouldn’t work for a RADU though, of course.
Multi-generational living is something that we are seeing more and more of as the housing market is pretty unsettled still. In fact, one of my clients who lives in a rural area has a daylight basement home. The upstairs is your typical 3 bedrooms, 2 bath home, but the downstairs (when they bought it) had a huge bonus room with a wet bar, an office, a bedroom, & a bathroom. They remodeled the downstairs into a 2nd home with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, and added the kitchen. The garage on the main floor leads to the mud room/laundry which has the interior door to the basement, so they share the laundry. This worked great for them as her mother & sister live upstairs, and she & her husband live downstairs. The upstairs has a beautiful deck, and their downstairs apartment also has an exterior door to a gorgeous patio with a fire pit. This option worked out great for both families.
Another one of my clients just converted their garage into1 bedroom apartment for his aging parents. Another client just added a studio apartment on top of their garage (they have a ranch home) for their son.
So, whether you are thinking about bringing in a ‘Tiny Home’ for a guest house or ADU, or if you are thinking about building a RADU, ADU, or guesthouse…. one thing with these options to consider is land development…which is an additional cost. You would also be looking at additional plumbing, electrical, water, and sewer/septic concerns. If you have a septic, you need to be aware where your drain field is located at, and what your septic is sized for.
When you are remodeling a floor plan, or converting a space that is already there, the costs will be different. Both options will have permits costs, so while these are all options that people are utilizing for muti-generational living, it isn’t as cut & dried as it looks. One thing to investigate when you are looking at your options is to make sure that you have all of the costs involved with them.
If this is something you are considering with your current home, or property… or even if it is something that you want to look into with your next home… talk with a Realtor who has some knowledge with it. Talk about the pros & cons of your current or future options and what option makes the most financial sense to you.
One thing I did not talk about in this email was “The Hardship”. A hardship does not transfer in a sell to the new owner. It does not increase the square footage of the home/property. All these options … the RADU, the ADU, and the Guesthouse… does transfer in a sell to the new owner… it does increase the square footage footprint of the home/property.
As always…. I am always open for your questions!!! If you, or anyone you know is thinking about buying or selling a home… My phone is on, and I will always return your call. 360- 903-3504
Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,
Tracie DeMars, Real Estate broker
PS. If you are interested in taking a free class for Buying or Selling Real Estate, please check out the May Classed times:
Upcoming Home Buyer Classes: https://learningtobuyahome.com/home-buyer-classes/
Saturday 5/27 from 10am-12pm…..Virtual
*In – person @ Marshall Community Center
*Saturday 5/13 from 9am-12pm
*Thursday 5/25 from 5pm-8pm
Upcoming Home Seller Class: https://learningtobuyahome.com/home-seller-classes/
Thursday 5/11 from 5pm-8pm… Virtual
Saturday 5/27 from 1pm-3pm… Virtual
*In-person @ Firstenberg Community Center
*Saturday 5/20 from 9am-12pm