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  • Writer's pictureAmrita Hemdev, CMO at Green Bay Remodeling and Development

Creating a Comfortable Home for In-Laws with an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

An ADU or an additional dwelling unit is a separate living space that is attached to or detached from your primary residence. An ADU can be used as a rental unit, a home office, or a place for your in-laws to stay. An ADU is a place of dwelling usually located in the backyard, which although similar to guest houses or pool houses, are a bit different because ADUs have their own kitchen and bathroom. There are different kinds of ADUs, such as conversion ADUs or Junior ADUs; but in this writing we will explore the “in-law suite” or “in-law apartment”. Building an ADU for your in-laws can be a great way to provide them with the independence they need while still being close enough to offer support and assistance. It can also be a great way to save money on housing costs, as ADUs are typically much more affordable than traditional homes.

When building an in-law suite ADU, consider a few things. First, you’ll need to decide on the size and layout of the unit. Additionally, you’ll need to think about providing access to the unit, such as a separate entrance or a shared entrance with your primary residence. Once you’ve decided on the size and layout of the in-law unit, you’ll need to obtain the necessary permits and approvals from your local government. This process can be time-consuming, so it’s essential to plan ahead and allow plenty of time. Once you’ve obtained the necessary ADU permits and approvals, you can begin the construction process. Depending on the size and complexity of your ADU construction project, this could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. A great way to get started is to hire a contractor and let the contractor take care of your ADU building project. A design-to-build contractor is preferable for such projects, since they will take care of the whole project from the design phase to the planning phase, all the way to the building and inspection phase. During this time, staying in close contact with your contractor is vital to ensure the project progresses as planned. Building an ADU for your in-laws can be a great way to provide them with a comfortable place to stay while maintaining their independence. With careful planning and preparation, you can create a functional and comfy space for your in-laws.

Here are some tips for building an ADU for your in-laws with the help of a contractor.

1. Research Contractors: Before hiring a contractor, do your research. Do an online search for “build an ADU information” and then “ADU builders near me” and look for contractors specializing in different construction projects, especially ADUs or in-law units, with experience building similar projects. Read reviews to make sure that the contractor is reliable and trustworthy.

2. Get a Detailed Estimate: Once you’ve found a contractor, get a detailed project estimate. Ensure the estimate includes all materials, labor, and any other costs associated with the project. Make sure the contractor is interested in your project and spends the necessary time with you to hear all your ideas and vision. This will help you stay on budget and avoid any unexpected costs.

3. Discuss Design: Talk to your contractor about the design of the ADU. Ensure the design meets your in-laws’ needs and complies with local building codes. If you have any special requests, discuss them with your ADU contractor.

4. Get a Contract: Before you start the project, make sure to get a contract. The contract should include all of the details of the project, including the estimated cost, timeline, and any other important information. This will help protect both you and your contractor in case of any disputes.

5. Stay Involved: Stay involved throughout the project and communicate with your ADU contractor. Ensure that the in-law suite construction project is progressing according to plan and that any changes are discussed and agreed upon.

Building an ADU for your in-laws can be a great way to provide them with a welcoming living space. By following these tips and working with a reliable ADU construction contractor, you can ensure the project is completed on time and within budget.


At Green Bay Remodeling, we handle everything for you. Right from the design to the build. We have your back through the entire experience from design to materials purchasing, all the way to completion of construction. You will be appointed a dedicated project manager to work with and manage your project end-to-end. Our offices are located all across the San Francisco Bay Area and Orange County in California, and in Austin, TX

Learn more about us and our processes here or book a call with a Green Bay Advisor for an in-depth free Consultation.


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