Investing in Property: Accessory Dwelling Units


Chris Landis published this article as part of his membership in the Washington Business Journal’s Leadership Trust.

As an architect with over 30 years of experience in the residential market of the D.C. metro area, I am often asked about improving a property as an investment opportunity. One increasingly popular option is to create an accessory dwelling unit (commonly known as an ADU).

An ADU is a secondary structure or apartment on a single-family lot. It has its own kitchen and bathroom and a separate entrance. The unit can be attached to the main house or detached, and it can be used as a living space for an elderly parent, a living space for adult children, living quarters for a nanny or caregiver, guest quarters, a long-term rental apartment, or a short-term rental bedroom or apartment (through a service like Airbnb). The owners could also move into this space and rent out their main space…

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