ADU vs. Guest House: Which One is Right for You?
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ADU vs. Guest House: Which One is Right for You?

|Nov 20, 2023

Expanding your living space is now easier than ever with all the new housing alternatives available. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and guest houses are common solutions for those who need additional living space for family, visitors, or even rental income.

Therefore, we will be comparing ADU vs. guest house, highlighting their respective strengths and weaknesses. This comparison will help you decide if a freestanding construction in your backyard or an extension to your current home would better meet your needs.

ADU vs. Guest House: What Is an ADU?

An ADU, or auxiliary dwelling unit, is a supplemental dwelling unit on a property that is not the primary residence. Detached accessory dwelling units (DADUs) are stand-alone structures that sit apart from the main house. In contrast, attached ADUs are joined to the primary dwelling through an existing outbuilding like a garage, basement, or attic.

Backyard cottage, little house, in-law suite, or granny flat are all names for a detached ADU. Attached accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are like a major extension to your primary residence; they share walls, use the same foundation, and necessitate additional fire protection features like sprinklers and alarms.

The most compelling reason to construct a prefab ADU in Sacramento is so you can provide permanent accommodation for extended family members, including elderly parents, children, and disabled people. Renting out an ADU to, say, a grandmother or a child who has recently graduated from college can help them save money while simultaneously providing rental income to the homeowner, who can then put that money toward the mortgage, property taxes, and other homeownership expenses.

ADU vs. Guest House: What Is an ADU?

Guest House vs. ADU: What’s a Guest House?

A guest house is a supplementary living unit on your property that is not designed for long-term occupancy and does not have a kitchen or complete bathroom. The primary function of a guest home is to provide a place for the owner's guests and family to stay when they visit.

A guest home typically allows visitors to stay for short periods, regardless of whether they pay to do so or not. Many people choose guest houses as their holiday rental of choice since they are a notch above the standard B&B but still cheaper than a five-star hotel.

They lack a kitchen and may not even have a sink installed, leaving residents dependent on the main building for food preparation and cleaning.

Guest houses are only allowed to have one full or one-half bathroom.

Guest House vs. ADU: What’s a Guest House?

What is the Difference between ADU and Guest House?

A few of the traits that set apart a guest house from an ADU are irrelevant to the latter. When compared to a guest house, an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is more autonomous because it has its own kitchen.

Some jurisdictions require a fully functional kitchen and bathroom before building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). There should be no cooking facilities at all at a guest house, and the toilet requirements are minimal. It serves its purpose as a quiet place to sleep but not much more.

The junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU) is a type of prefab ADU in Bakersfield that is occasionally exempted from certain regulations. However, these Junior units are typically quite compact. Most accessory dwelling units are created by subdividing an existing structure, such as a bedroom or a garage, into a room with direct access to the outside.

What is the Difference between ADU and Guest House?

Is a Guest House Considered a Dwelling?

If you're wondering whether or not a guest house counts as a dwelling, one key distinction is that guest houses are always detached and permanent. Attached ADUs can share a wall with the primary residence, be erected as an extension to the existing home, or stand-alone. Building a tiny house or similar small structure for long-term placement on a property is one option for an accessory dwelling unit.

As was previously indicated, a full bathroom is required for a prefab ADU in Anaheim, but a JADU only needs access to a bathroom, which can be located either in the unit or in the main home.

In contrast, a full bathroom or a half bathroom is up to the discretion of the homeowner when designing a guest house.

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ADU vs. Guest House: Which One to Choose?

Pros & Cons of a Guest House

Here are some pros and cons to think about if you're considering building a guest house on your property:

  • If you only need temporary housing for visitors, a guest home may be the best option. Giving them their room to relax in will show that you care about their comfort and solitude without compromising yours. However, if a guest house doesn't include a kitchen, it might not be the best option in the long run.
  • Whether it's a family retreat or a place for out-of-town guests to feel at ease, a guest home can serve as an ideal hideaway. A detached guest house allows you to have your own personal getaway right outside your door. But again, you and your visitors may find yourselves making more trips to your home than you had anticipated if the guest house doesn't have a fully equipped kitchen.

Pros & Cons of an ADU

ADUS, like guest houses, comes with its fair share of pros and cons:

  • Building an ADU on your property can increase its worth. In addition to providing you with more living space, having a second house on your property can improve your home's resale value by tens of thousands of dollars. Prefab ADUs are cost-effective in theory, but you'll still have to invest in some necessities if you plan to use the space as your primary residence.
  • Prefab ADU in Oakland is a clever addition that can help you make the most of your property. Converting a pool house or garage into an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a smart way to make the most of underutilized space. However, building an ADU or converting an existing space for this purpose will likely reduce the amount of storage you have for your automobile and other household things.
  • In a hot housing market, when renters are desperate to find cheap options, an ADU can be a great source of income. Prefab ADUs in Long Beach are great for both long-term and short-term rentals. On the other side, your family may feel uneasy having strangers living on your property. As a landlord, you'll be responsible for their comfort and safety as well as the upkeep of the ADU.

ADU vs. Guest House: Which One to Choose?

Our Final Take on ADU vs. Guest House

The decision between ADU vs. guest house should be based on your individual needs, goals, and preferences. Both have their advantages and drawbacks, as we've seen. Regardless of your final choice, these enhancements can increase the value and functionality of your house, giving you a more personalized living environment.

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