Why Two-Story Garage Kits Make Perfect ADUs
December 13, 2022
Zoning laws are loosening across the U.S. in response to a growing housing shortage caused by factors such as the pandemic’s slowing of home construction, the high cost of lumber, and the rapidly growing segment of the population aging into homeownership years.
As the trend of loosening zoning restrictions continues, more homeowners in those cities are considering the new possibilities for building ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) on their home property that are attractive, affordable, functional, and in many cases create a new revenue stream as rental properties.
For instance, in Encinitas, CA the city has launched a program to help homeowners get an ADU on their property with affordable fees and a streamlined process.
In other California cities, notably Los Angeles, an ADU revolution is underway. If production continues at 2019 levels, one in ten LA houses will have a modern ADU by 2026.
For many considering ADU construction, one of the most attractive options is to build an ADU that is two stories, featuring a garage space on the first floor and living or storage space above the garage. Here we will explore a few reasons why two-story prefabricated garage kits are ideal solutions for these homeowners.
Reasons to Build Prefab Two Story Garage Kits as ADUs
ADU housing is always adjacent or very close to a primary residence. An ADU can range in size from 250 square feet (attached) up to 1,200 square feet (detached) making it a useful structural addition for your main home. Prefabricated two story garages make perfect ADUs because they use less resources than your average stick-frame single-family home, in addition to being strong and saving money on energy costs.
Here are some of the best reasons a prefabricated two-story garage as an ADU:
Prefab SIP Kits are Easy to Build
SIP homes are faster and easier to build as prefab kits generally contain pre-measured and pre-cut SIPs. House kits come with a variety of floor plans for building your home and ADU which you can choose from. The panels offer significant time savings even if you prefer to build your custom home with the SIP kit.
While building your home, you also have other options like choosing SIPs panels over stick frames for your walls and roof. With SIPs panels, the entire wall and roof sections can be put up quickly and easily. The panels are shipped to you to the exact measurements and specifications of your blueprint. SIPs are ready to install when they arrive, eliminating the time needed to perform the individual jobsite operations of framing, insulating, and sheathing traditional stick-framed walls.
They Easily Add a Separate Workspace or Office
Work from Home (WFH) was the new buzzword during the global pandemic, and even post-Covid the working model of remote vs. in-office for many businesses and business professionals has shifted.
With most companies now offering a mix of options, and some even going fully remote, homeowners who work these jobs can turn a two-story ADU (either on the ground floor garage or on the 2nd floor as you may prefer) into an office or working space next to your home.
For many people, working from home is made easier when the workspace is a dedicated space that is separated from your primary residence. This helps to keep you away from the distractions of home life, while still working within walking distance of the comforts of your own home.
Using a two-story garage ADU in this way also means extra savings for homeowners come tax season, because you can write off the office space on your taxes, helping you recoup the cost of buying and building the ADU kit.
They’re an Easy Way to Add Garage Space
Auto ownership is not slowing down in 2022, when most Americans own a vehicle or two. In many neighborhoods, especially urban neighborhoods with narrow lots and less space overall for residential structures, having a garage is a luxury. Many urban homeowners are forced to park their vehicles on the street, and if they’re lucky enough to have yard space, they might build a shed or other storage structure there.
Building a garage ADU kit on that extra space instead means no more street parking for these homeowners. For those who don’t know, street parking can be a huge hassle–competing with neighbors and visitors for space on the street, having to move the vehicle for street cleaning (or else receive a costly parking ticket), worry about the possibility of the parked vehicle getting hit or damaged by through traffic–the list goes on.
Additionally, an enclosed garage better protects your vehicle from theft and severe weather conditions.
The ADU Can Easily Generate Revenue
For homeowners willing to accept the responsibilities of a landlord, building a two-story garage ADU creates the opportunity to rent the space above the garage to tenants. The rental income generated by the 2nd story apartment will eventually offset your purchase and building costs. This creates an additional lifelong secondary rental income for you in the long run, whether you plan to offer it on Airbnb for short term renters, or lease it long term.
Prefab SIPs Save on Heating & Cooling Bills
SIP panels offer unique benefits for energy efficiency because they are manufactured with foam insulation inside. If you intend on using the upstairs living space of your two-story garage kit as an extended or short-term living space, you will save money on your heating and cooling bills–savings that can help offset the purchase price of the SIP garage kit.
What many homeowners may not know is that SIP structures are stronger than traditional stick-frame ADUs, making them less likely to be damaged in severe weather. In fact, SIP kits from Mighty Small Homes can withstand hurricane force winds, which also means they can also endure strong tornadoes. That means any vehicles or other valuable items stored in the garage area will be much more protected from possible damage as well.
They Can Become Versatile Recreational Spaces
Two story garage kits can also be built to use the bottom floor for recreational activities, such as a pool table, tiki bar, game room, or other entertainment. Additionally, you can easily open the garage doors to let in fresh air and enjoy the outside and inside simultaneously, perfect for cookouts or even for use as a pool house.
While you can keep adding to this list based on your own lifestyle and preferences, you could even use it as a yoga studio or a separate gym, a health club, or any club house facility.
They’re Useful for Storing Rugged Outdoor Gear
An ADU that is a two story garage makes it ideal for those living in or near wooded areas perfect for hiking or hunting who have lots of outdoor gear like fishing, hunting, golfing or other recreational activities that need large storage space to keep the equipment orderly. This can be turned into a valuable storage area for your home.
They Help Keep Elderly Family Close to Home
Based on the number of family members you could use this ADU as a home for keeping your elderly parents close by or providing a comfortable living space for adult children to live in with their freedom and independence. These living spaces are also popularly known as “mother-in-law suites” or “granny flats” since it is common for homeowners to want their aging family members close by.
ADUs Increase the Resale Value of Your Home
As housing shortages increase, the rise in ADUs like two story garages will keep growing.
A study by Portland, State University found that adding an ADU demonstrated an average of 51% increase in resale value. The construction of a two story garage as an ADU can increase the value of your property and add additional rental income for your family.
While adding to your lifestyle and enabling all unique advantages and benefits, Adding a two story garage means more than just a garage for your car. It’s an extension of your home away from home. An additional independent living space for you and your family next to your home.
Don’t Delay Building Your Garage Kit
Contact MSH to learn more about ADUs and how a two story garage kit can increase your property value and other unique benefits to you and your family..