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New Year, New ADU

Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, became legal for residential properties back in 2015. Lawmakers hoped to relieve Oahu’s extreme housing crisis, and since then, the ADU construction is one of the most-popular building projects on the island. Perfect as a rental property, additional living space for multigenerational families, or as a way to allow senior couples to age-in-place, ADU’s are a great fit for many homeowners.

Considering building your own ADU this year? Here’s three tips for making an Accessory Dwelling Unit work for you!

Plan Ahead: Designs for your ADU will look different depending on their intended purpose. For example, building a space intended for elderly parents often entails accommodating for the aging process, which means single-story structures, wider doorways, and non-slip flooring materials in kitchens and bathrooms. On the other hand, designing for potential rentals might allow for trendier design choices—like loft bedrooms and open-concept floorplans.

Planning for with future residents in mind also helps determine how you’ll orient your ADU on your property, incorporate the required additional parking, and use landscaping two differentiate between shared and private spaces between both homes. If you’re building an ADU for family, you might consider an attached structure, with shared parking and communal backyard living spaces. Otherwise, you’ll need to get creative with your use of space in order to help potential tenants feel a sense of autonomy and privacy. However you plan to use your ADU, plan with your intended future tenants in mind.

Keep it Simple: Hawaii’s ADU regulations determine the size of your ADU based on overall lot size. For properties less than 5,000 square feet, the ADU cannot be larger than 400 square feet. If the lot is above 5,000 square feet, the ADU cannot exceed the 800 square footage limit. This means any potential Accessory Dwelling Unit will need to maximize every inch of space in order to act as a practical living space.

Use space efficiently by keeping designs simple and functional, replacing traditional dressers, cabinets, and cupboards with equivalents built into the wall, and using high windows along the ceiling to preserve privacy and open up more wall space for storage and furniture placement.

Lofted ceilings can create additional space for storage, and mobile or fold-away furniture can make each room a multipurpose room—think rolling kitchen islands, dining spaces that fold away into the wall, or living rooms that double as an office or formal dining area.

Be Green: Especially if you’re planning on using your ADU to generate extra income! Don’t build an ADU only to mitigate potential earnings with a high utility bills or unexpected repairs. Keep your structure financially sustainable by using high-quality insulation to maintain internal temperatures without relying on costly cooling systems. If you do install an AC unit, consider an energy-efficient central-air system that saves space and can be programed to avoid over-use. Solar panels, smart appliances, and LED lighting systems can also keep your ADU-related costs down.

Whether your future ADU makes multigenerational living easier or helps you mitigate the high-cost of Hawaiian living, Home Planning Hawaii makes building an Accessory Dwelling Unit simple. And with building permit and wastewater fees waived until June 30, 2020, there’s never been a more financially beneficial time to build add an ADU to your existing property.

With our access to Hawaii’s best architects, contractors, and designers, we help you connect with the right professionals for each step of the construction process. Contact us today to get started, and use our Instant Online Estimator to start budgeting for your 2020 ADU.