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  • Writer's pictureVisionMaker Homes

How to Build an ADU On Your Land

Updated: Mar 14

Want to know what to know when building an stick-built ADU "Tiny Home"? Here we will explore what you will need to add an ADU to your current residential home and build a single-family residence from the ground up with either an attached or detached ADU. Let's get started!

Hand Holding Accessory Dwelling Unit Acronym ADU
Hand Holding Accessory Dwelling Unit Acronym ADU

First things first, what is an ADU? The acronym ADU stands for Accessory Dwelling Unit and is sometimes called a "Tiny Home". However, the most commonly thought of with a Tiny Home is that they are on wheels. With regards to an ADU, that is not the case. ADUs are on-site, stick-built homes built on a concrete foundation like any other residential home. These can be attached or detached units in addition to your existing or to-be-built residential home. It all depends on the space availability on your lot or land and what the jurisdictional guidelines allow. 

Know What to Research Before Building an ADU On Your Land

Researching what you need to build an ADU On Your Land is essential to any project. When completed properly mistakes and budget overages during the construction process are minimized. Notice we said minimized not removed. There is always a risk in building that you will have overages, however, you can reduce these and plan for these unknown costs by including a 10% contingency in your budget. Call this a peace of mind contingency; the important thing is that you don't pay for it if you do not use it! 

A quick overview of some items to research includes where utilities are coming from (power, sewer, water, and gas) and whether the services can handle an additional dwelling. You might need to upsize your water meter, or you may need to upsize a septic system per jurisdictional requirements. You could also run into a scenario where you need a 400-amp electrical service, and your current electrical service is only 200-amps. More research will be done with your jurisdictional building and planning department. They will help in answering questions regarding building regulations and property setbacks. They can also guide you to other departments you need to contact for other vital rules pertaining to your specific home build and property. Also, remember to research any community CC&Rs or Homeowner Association (HOA) regulations because you may also need approval from your HOA.

Adding an ADU to Your Existing Home: Attached and Detached

Attached ADUs to your existing single-family home can be built by a general contractor specializing in remodeling and renovation. You can add an Accessory Dwelling Unit above your garage or on the ground floor attached to your current residence for ease of access and for aging parents. Either way, you will want a General Contractor who knows the ins and outs of adding additional square footage to an existing home. An attached ADU is a great option when a small lot is zoned to allow for an ADU.

Detached ADUs can be utilized when you have a more oversized lot that accommodates a separate unit and can provide more privacy for you and the person(s) living in your newly added ADU. This option is excellent for rental situations where you will not know the tenants and want to keep your space. If you are an investor who rents both the single-family residence and the ADU, give both tenants the feel of having their own space. Building a detached ADU could be constructed by a General Contractor specializing in remodels and renovations or a new home builder offering ADUs as an option. Attention investors, you will want to ensure zoning allows for rentals in addition to your CC&Rs and Homeowners Association. In some circumstances, you may be able to have short-term rentals, and in others, you may need to stick with long-term rental unit ADUs. In your initial due diligence research that we discussed earlier in this article, you will want to dive deeply to ensure your intended use will be allowed.

Building and ADU in Central Oregon

The State of Oregon and Central Oregon are friendly. The goal is to offer more homes per acre with some being smaller ADUs with lower rents than traditional homes. The goal is to provide more affordable housing to the Central Oregon workforce as this type of housing is desperately needed. As of December 1st, 2023, landowners whose property meets the criteria in Deschutes County can apply and get ADUs approved on land outside city limits.

If you want to learn more about the option of building a new customized home or ADU on your land even if it's just to explore if this is an option to consider, contact us by email at or give us a call at 541-668-8203 to learn more. We are here to help when you are ready!


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