About ADUs

Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs are also known as second units, granny flats, in-law apartments, and backyard cottages. Lilypad Homes has the expertise to help homeowners create an ADU that functions as an independent living space for renters, family members, or in-home caregivers.

Today’s homeowners — increasingly made up of empty nesters, single parents, retirees and those seeking a smaller environmental footprint — need flexible, more affordable housing options. Given the predominance of large single-family dwellings, many homeowners are “over-housed” and burdened by high costs. Fortunately, California laws have recently changed to simplify the permitting of ADUs — making it easier than ever to build private, independent units on existing single-family properties.

An ADU will earn rental income, provide greater economic freedom, and create much needed housing in our community. Explore the possibilities of your property with our Feasibility Assessment service.


ADU Benefits

Earn Rental Income:

Gain financial security by carving out unused space into a private, independent rental unit. This dependable source of income can help pay the mortgage, college tuition, or fund a much needed vacation. ADU rental income can make it possible for first-time buyers to afford a home.


Add Flexibility:

Imagine a young couple renting out their unit to a teacher from a nearby school. Later when their family grows, they include the unit as part of their home. Years later, when the children go to college, the unit is rented to an aging neighbor who has decided to downsize. Eventually, the couple retires, moves into the unit and allows their newly-married daughter to begin her family in the main home. ADUs provide flexible multi-generational living spaces that meet changing needs.


Increase Home Value:

Today’s homebuyers understand that their space needs will change over time as children leave the nest (and sometimes return), and aging parents need assistance. Multi-generational homes and properties with legal rental units garner a premium price. The housing market as a whole will go up and it will go down, but a property with a rental unit will always be desirable.


Build Community:

While many Marin and Sonoma residents commute to San Francisco and beyond, thousands of others commute into our counties for jobs as teachers, nannies, medical staff, and public safety officers because our local housing options are scarce. ADUs can benefit our communities by adding housing units and including more of these important members of our work force as residents. 


Achieve Sustainability:

By using existing land and housing infrastructure to create new homes (infill development), ADUs reduce the environmental footprint of housing and help retain the natural beauty of our environment. And by providing housing to local workers, commute hours and GHG emissions are dramatically reduced. ADUs are an antidote to sprawl and the housing crisis.


Photo by  Daniel McCullough  on  Unsplash

What are the steps to create an ADU?

  1. Define your goals

  2. Research your property’s possibilities

  3. Initial cost/benefit evaluation

  4. Preliminary design

  5. Meet with Planning & Building Dept.

  6. Obtain construction estimates

  7. Finalize design

  8. Obtain financing

  9. Select contractor

  10. Apply for permits

  11. Prepare for construction

  12. Construction phase

  13. Rent unit

If that seems overwhelming, Lilypad Homes is here to help. With a Lilypad Homes Feasibility Assessment, we tackle steps 1 and 2 and quickly get you on the road to flexible, more affordable housing. If you then choose to move forward, our Design and Consulting services can help take your ADU project to completion.