Is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Right for You?

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are also known as:

  • Ohana Unit (Hawaii)
  • Granny Flat
  • Mother-in-Law Unit
  • In-Law Suite
  • Grand Retreat

Homeowners Build ADUs for Many Reasons:

  • Long-term rental: supplemental rental income
  • Short-term rental: Airbnb and VRBO short-term rentals can generate much higher rent than monthly rentals, but require more time to manage
  • Age in Place: Elderly homeowners that need a home without stairs or with special access can build an ADU to stay in the neighborhood they love
  • Elbow room: More space for elderly parents or kids returning from college to live.  Have your family close, but not too close!


ADUs in Portland

According to

  • Eighty percent of ADUs in Portland are long-term primary residences
  • Over 2000 Portland homeowners signed up for the new “House the Homeless” ADU program
  • Portland currently waives System Development Charge (SDC) Fees—savings from $7,000 to $15,000—for ADUs
  • Roughly thirty-five percent of all residential homes in Vancouver BC have ADUs, compared to one percent in Portland and Seattle
  • Permits for ADUs in Portland continue to increase:
    • 2009 = 24
    • 2010 = 86                       
    • 2011 = 133            
    • 2012 = 164  
    • 2013 = 201
    • 2014 = 263
    • 2015 = 483         
    • 2016 = 615
  • The environmental impact of an ADU is much lower than other single-family residences
  • ADUS require less utility usage for cooling and heating
  • Most ADU residents commute by bike or mass transit because they tend to live closer to work
  • The ADU is a rapidly growing segment of the Portland Housing Market!


If you have questions about ADUs and whether one might be right for you, please give me a call. I look forward to hearing from you.  Eric Dunlap 503-936-2054.

P.S. Be sure to sign up for the Build Small, Live Large ADU tour, September 9 and 10.

*Information was gathered from

**This is not a commitment to lend. Prices and guidelines are subject to change
without notice. Some products may not be available in all states. Subject to review
of credit and/or collateral; not all applicants will qualify for financing. It is important
to make an informed decision when selecting and using a loan product; make sure
to compare loan types when making a financing decision.
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