Accessory Dewing Unit Arlington VA

The Ins and Outs of Accessory Dwelling Units in Arlington, VA

The Ins and Outs of Accessory Dwelling Units in Arlington, VA

Are you a homeowner in Arlington, VA looking to increase your property value and create additional living space? Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) may be the solution for you. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about ADUs, including regulations, costs, design considerations and choosing the right builder. Let’s get started!

What are Accessory Dwelling Units?

An accessory dwelling unit, or ADU for short, is a small secondary residence that is located on the same property as a primary home. These units are typically located in the backyard of a property and can range in size up to 560 square feet. In Arlington, VA, ADUs have become increasingly popular due to their ability to provide additional living space without having to purchase new land or move out of an existing home.

Makara ADU has helped homeowners in Arlington realize the benefits of ADUs, from increased rental income potential to providing independent living spaces.

Organizations, such as Alliance for Housing Solutions, has been advocating for greater acceptance and use of ADUs since 2003. The organization provides assistance with zoning changes and works closely with local governments to help streamline the process. With Alliance’s help, together with firms such as Makara ADU, more homeowners in Arlington are realizing the benefits of adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit to their properties – from increased rental income potential to providing family members with independent living spaces while staying close by.

Size and Features

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in Arlington, VA usually range in size from 200 to 560 square feet. Despite their small size, they offer a full suite of amenities including kitchens and bathrooms, making them a self-contained living space. Some ADUs also come with additional features like an outdoor patio or deck that expands the living area.

Homeowners who are interested in building an accessory dwelling unit can choose from a variety of styles and designs depending on their preferences and budget. There are options for both traditional-looking cottages as well as modern structures that feature sleek lines and contemporary finishes. With so many customizable designs available today, homeowners can create an ADU that perfectly fits their needs while adding value to their property at the same time.

Benefits of Building an ADU in Arlington, VA

Building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in Arlington, VA can provide homeowners with a range of benefits. Firstly, ADUs offer additional living space for family members or rental income for homeowners. Secondly, they increase property value and help to maximize the use of underutilized backyard spaces. Finally, since 2020 Arlington County has had a dedicated Accessory Dwelling Unit building firm (i.e. Makara ADU) which supports homeowners throughout the entire process from design to construction and permits. With these benefits in mind, building an ADU is a smart investment for many homeowners in Arlington County.

Regulations for Building an ADU in Arlington, VA

When building an ADU in Arlington, VA, it is important to follow the proper regulations and obtain the necessary permits before starting construction. The permitting process includes submitting plans to the county for review and obtaining approval from various departments such as zoning, utilities and environmental services.

In addition to obtaining permits, it is crucial to adhere to zoning requirements when constructing an ADU in Arlington. These requirements include factors such as setback distances from property lines and neighboring structures, maximum height limitations, parking availability and more. It’s important to work with a knowledgeable contractor or architect who can guide you through these regulations during the design phase of your project.

Permitting Process

Understanding the application process for an ADU permit can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, with a company like Makara ADU that handles the entire process, its extremely easy and manageable. The first step is to research and understand the zoning requirements in Arlington, VA. Once you have a clear understanding of these requirements, you can begin preparing your application.

Documentation required to apply for a permit in Arlington, VA includes:

  • A site plan indicating where the ADU will be located
  • Floor plans and elevations of the proposed structure
  • A completed building permit application
  • Proof of ownership or authorization from the owner
  • Payment for associated fees

Common mistakes to avoid during the permitting process include:

  • Failing to accurately measure setbacks or lot coverage
  • Not obtaining proper approvals from neighbors or homeowner’s associations
  • Using non-compliant materials or designs that do not meet local building codes

By taking care to follow all necessary steps and avoiding common pitfalls during this process, homeowners can successfully obtain permits for their ADUs in Arlington, VA.

Zoning Requirements

How to identify if your property is eligible for building an ADU:

  • Call a firm, such as Makara ADU, that can quickly and easily identify if our property is feasible for an ADU.
  • Check with the Arlington County Zoning Office to determine if your property is zoned for residential use.
  • Review the zoning regulations to confirm that there are no restrictions on ADUs in your area.

Compliance with setback and height requirements of ADUs in Arlington, VA:

  • Setback requirements:
  • The minimum distance between the primary dwelling and the proposed ADU must be 5 feet from each side yard, 10 feet from the rear yard or alley, and adhere to any unique setbacks determined by local jurisdiction.
  • Height requirements:
  • The maximum height of an accessory structure cannot exceed 20ft, which includes both stories (if applicable).

Additional zoning regulations that you need to be aware of before building an ADU:

  • Occupancy limits:
  • An ADU can only house up to three people at a time.
  • Parking Requirements:
  • You may have specific parking space requirements depending on your location within Arlington County.

It’s important to consult with a professional team, such as Makara ADU, who specializes in building accessory dwelling units in order to ensure compliance with all applicable codes and guidelines. Note that changes may have been made to requirements since this blog was written so please contact Makara ADU for up to date information.

Costs and Financing Options

When it comes to financing your accessory dwelling unit in Arlington, VA, you have several options. Many homeowners opt for a home equity line of credit (HELOC), which allows them to borrow against the equity they’ve built up in their primary residence. Another option is a construction loan specifically designed for ADUs. Additionally, some jurisdictions offer grants or other financial incentives for building ADUs.

As far as construction costs go, the price tag will vary depending on factors such as size, materials used, and whether you choose to hire a builder or tackle the project yourself. According to recent estimates from, most homeowners can expect to spend anywhere from $150-$300 per square foot on an accessory dwelling unit build project in Arlington County. However, keep in mind that these figures do not include permits, architecture and engineering, utility connections and other fees associated with building an ADU.

Construction Costs

When it comes to building accessory dwelling units in Arlington, VA, construction costs can vary depending on a range of factors. Permits and fees are an important consideration, as local regulations may require specific permits or impact fees for new construction. Additionally, materials and labor costs will play a significant role in the final price tag for your ADU build.

Architectural and design services are also an important cost factor to take into account when constructing an accessory dwelling unit. It’s important to work with professionals who understand the unique challenges of designing for small spaces while still maximizing functionality and aesthetics. With careful planning and attention to detail on these key elements, you can create a beautiful ADU that meets your needs without breaking the bank.

The pricing for a Makara ADU includes all the costs to design, permit and construct the ADU. Makara ADU will work with you to value engineer the backyard cottage in Arlington, VA to meet your needs and your budget.

Financing Options

Homeowners have several financing options to consider when they want to build an accessory dwelling unit in Arlington, VA. Home equity loans are a popular choice for those who have built up significant equity in their primary home. Personal loans are another option that can provide quick access to funds without having to use your home as collateral. Government grants and programs may also be available for low-income homeowners or those who plan on renting out the ADU.

Here are some of the main points you should keep in mind about each financing option:

  • Home Equity Loans:
  • This type of loan lets you borrow against the value of your home, usually at a fixed interest rate. The amount you can borrow will depend on how much equity you have built up.
  • Personal Loans:
  • These unsecured loans typically come with higher interest rates than home equity loans but don’t require any collateral. They’re best suited for smaller projects where borrowing amounts aren’t too high.
  • Government Grants and Programs:
  • Check with local agencies such as Arlington County’s Housing Division or Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to see if there are any financial assistance programs available that could help offset construction costs.

Design Considerations for ADUs in Arlington, VA

When designing an ADU in Arlington, VA, it’s important to consider the architectural style of both the main house and surrounding neighborhood. A cohesive design can increase property value and enhance curb appeal. Additionally, landscaping and outdoor space should be carefully planned to maximize privacy for both the primary home and ADU occupants while also providing functional areas for entertaining or relaxation. Thoughtful consideration of these design elements can create a harmonious living experience for all residents.

Architectural Style

When it comes to the architectural style of an accessory dwelling unit, there are various options to choose from. One popular approach is matching the style of the main house, which can create a cohesive and complementary aesthetic. However, for those looking for a more modern and sleek design, there are plenty of options available as well.

If preserving historic features is important to you, consider incorporating them into your ADU’s design. This can include using reclaimed materials or mimicking architectural details from the main house. With careful attention to detail and expert craftsmanship, your ADU can seamlessly blend with its surroundings while still standing out as a unique and stylish addition to your property.

Landscaping and Outdoor Space

Maximizing outdoor living space for both units is crucial in designing your accessory dwelling unit (ADU). By creating separate entrances and private outdoor areas, each unit can have a sense of privacy and individuality. Incorporating greenery such as trees, shrubs, and flowers not only enhances the curb appeal but also creates a natural barrier between the two units.

By carefully planning the landscaping and outdoor space of your ADU, you can create a comfortable living area that maximizes every inch of available land. With separate entrances and private outdoor areas designed with greenery to enhance their aesthetic appeal, homeowners can enjoy their own tranquil sanctuaries while still being close enough to share communal spaces when desired.

Choosing the Right Builder for Your ADU (Makara ADU)

When choosing a builder for your ADU, experience and expertise are crucial factors to consider. Look for a company that specializes in building these types of units and has a track record of successful projects. Additionally, make sure the builder is familiar with Arlington’s zoning regulations and can navigate any necessary permits or approvals.

Customer service and communication are also important aspects to consider when selecting a builder for your ADU. Choose a company that values clear communication and prioritizes customer satisfaction throughout the entire building process. A responsive team that addresses your concerns promptly can help ensure that your project runs smoothly from start to finish.

Experience and Expertise

With several years of experience dedicated to building ADUs, our team possesses unmatched expertise in navigating zoning regulations and building codes. We specialize in designing custom ADUs that match the unique needs and preferences of our clients. From initial design to final construction, we pay close attention to detail every step of the way to ensure your vision is brought to life with precision and excellence.

Customer Service and Communication

Clear communication throughout the entire construction process is crucial to ensure a smooth and stress-free experience for homeowners. We make sure to keep our clients informed every step of the way, from initial design concepts through final inspection. This includes regular updates on timelines, budgets, and any unexpected issues that may arise.

We understand that accommodating our clients’ schedules is important in creating a positive experience. That’s why we offer flexible scheduling options to work around their needs and preferences. Our commitment to customer satisfaction has earned us a track record of positive reviews from satisfied homeowners who appreciate our attention to detail and personalized approach to each project.

Accessory Dewing Unit Arlington VA

The Ultimate Guide to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Arlington, VA

The Ultimate Guide to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Arlington, VA

Looking for an affordable solution to your housing needs in Arlington, VA and Alexandria, VA and Montgomery County, MD? Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) might just be the answer. ADUs have been trending recently as a viable option for homeowners looking to expand their space or generate rental income. In this post, we’ll explore what exactly ADUs are, why they’re becoming increasingly popular, how you can build one, and the benefits of owning one.

What are ADUs?

ADUs, or accessory dwelling units, are independent and secondary small living spaces that can be built on the same property as an existing single-family home. These units are also commonly referred to as granny flats, cottages, in-law suites, backyard cottages, or backyard apartments and have become a popular solution for affordable housing in many cities.

ADUs, also known as granny flats or backyard apartments, offer homeowners the opportunity to create additional rental income or provide extra space for family members.

There are two types of ADUs: attached and detached. Attached ADUs share a wall with the main house and have their own separate entrance, while detached ADUs are completely separate structures located in the backyard. Both types of ADUs offer homeowners the opportunity to create additional rental income or provide extra space for family members.


An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a self-contained living space within a property that has its own entrance, kitchen and bathroom facilities. ADUs are becoming increasingly popular as they offer homeowners the opportunity to generate additional income by renting them out, or house family members in close proximity while maintaining privacy.

While often used interchangeably with terms like in-law suites and tiny homes, ADUs have distinct differences. In-law suites generally refer to an extra bedroom or living area within an existing home, whereas tiny homes are typically standalone residences that can be moved from place to place.

For homeowners looking to generate income or provide affordable housing options for renters, ADUs provide numerous benefits. They allow homeowners to maximize the use of their property without having to purchase new land or build additional apartments elsewhere; they also increase property value and offer flexibility for changing needs such as accommodating aging parents or adult children returning home.

Overall, accessory dwelling units represent a cost-effective way of providing additional rental opportunities while offering renters more affordable housing options in areas where traditional apartment buildings may not be available – all while remaining hidden away at the back of your backyard!


ADUs, or accessory dwelling units, come in different types such as attached, detached or basement or garage conversions. When building an ADU on your property, design considerations play a crucial role in ensuring that it complements your existing home while providing additional space for living. Understanding the legal requirements for constructing an ADU is also important to avoid any setbacks during the construction process. Whether you are looking for extra living space or rental income through apartments, backyard ADUs offer a flexible and affordable housing solution.

Why ADUs are Trending?

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are becoming increasingly popular due to their affordability and flexibility. Many homeowners are building ADUs to provide additional living space for family members or as a source of rental income. In addition, ADUs are environmentally sustainable and can increase property value. As housing costs continue to rise in many cities, the trend towards ADU construction is likely to grow even more.


Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are a cost-effective alternative to traditional housing, providing homeowners with an opportunity to earn potential rental income. ADUs are smaller in square footage compared to conventional homes, which translates into lower utility bills for both the homeowner and tenant.

Not only do ADUs offer financial benefits, but they also provide flexibility in their design and usage. Homeowners can use them as a guest house or office space while still maintaining privacy within their property. Additionally, building an ADU is environmentally sustainable as it requires fewer resources than constructing a larger home.

Overall, ADUs have become a trending solution for affordable housing due to its multiple advantages such as affordability, flexibility and sustainability while also increasing the value of the property.


An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a flexible living space that can serve multiple purposes. It can be used as a home office, guest house, or in-law suite which makes it an ideal solution for those who work from home or have frequent visitors. ADUs also allow for multi-generational living arrangements, providing affordable housing options to families with aging parents or adult children.

In addition to their versatility, ADUs are easier and quicker to construct than traditional homes. They are typically smaller in size and can be built on existing properties without the need for major renovations. This not only saves time but also reduces construction costs making ADUs an attractive option for those looking for affordable housing solutions. Overall, the flexibility of ADUs make them a trending solution in today’s housing market.


Reduced carbon footprint is a significant benefit of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) due to their smaller size and efficient design. ADUs are built with sustainability in mind, using less energy for heating and cooling, resulting in reduced emissions. Furthermore, the increased use of renewable energy sources such as solar panels further reduces the carbon footprint of these units.

In addition to reducing emissions during use, there is also potential for eco-friendly materials to be used during construction. This includes recycled or sustainably sourced building materials such as bamboo flooring or reclaimed wood siding. These measures not only benefit the environment but also create a healthier living space for homeowners and tenants alike.

Increased Property Value

ADUs, or accessory dwelling units, can increase the property value of a home due to their added living space. This makes them attractive to potential buyers or renters who are looking for flexibility and affordability. “ADU-ready” properties may also see an increase in demand as more people become interested in this housing trend. Overall, investing in an ADU can be a smart financial decision that not only provides additional income but also boosts the resale value of your property.

How to Build an ADU?

Before diving into the process of building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), it’s important to research and understand the permitting and zoning regulations in your area. This will ensure that your ADU complies with local laws and requirements, allowing for a smooth construction process. Additionally, considering design elements such as size, layout, and accessibility can improve functionality while increasing property value. Once these factors are accounted for, the actual construction process involves securing financing options, choosing materials and hiring contractors to bring your ADU vision to life. While costs vary depending on location and specific preferences, building an ADU can provide a cost-effective solution for additional living space or rental income potential.

Permitting and Zoning Regulations

Understanding local regulations is crucial when considering building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). It’s important to research and comprehend the specific permitting process required in your area. Securing necessary permits can be a time-consuming and complicated process, but it must be done before beginning any construction.

Zoning requirements are also essential to keep in mind when designing or constructing ADUs. These vary by locality and can significantly impact where you build, what type of ADU you construct, and how large it can be. Understanding these regulations is critical for ensuring that your project complies with all zoning laws.

Design Considerations

Choosing the right ADU style for your needs is an important design consideration. Consider factors such as budget, space limitations, and personal preferences to determine which style will work best for you. Additionally, maximizing available space is crucial when designing an ADU. Use creative storage solutions and consider multi-purpose furniture to make the most of every inch.

Ensuring accessibility features should also be a top priority during the design process. Consider implementing features such as wheelchair ramps, grab bars in bathrooms, wider doorways and hallways if needed. Overall, a thoughtful approach to design will help create a comfortable living space that meets all of your unique needs.

  • Choose an ADU style based on budget & preferences
  • Maximize available space with creative storage solutions
  • Ensure accessibility features are incorporated into the design

Construction Process

When building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), the construction process is crucial for ensuring a successful and safe outcome. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  • Hiring a reputable builder or contractor:
  • It’s important to work with professionals who have experience in ADU construction and can provide references from previous clients.
  • Sourcing quality materials within budget constraints:
  • Finding the right balance between cost and quality is essential for staying within your budget while still creating a well-built structure.
  • Adhering to building codes and safety standards:
  • Compliance with local regulations ensures that your ADU meets all necessary safety requirements, protecting you as well as future occupants of the space.


Estimating total project costs for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) can be tricky, but it’s important to have a clear understanding of expenses before diving into construction. Costs will vary depending on factors such as size, location, and materials used. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering the costs of building an ADU:

  • Hiring professionals like architects and contractors can significantly add to overall costs.
  • Consider all necessary permits and fees required by your local government.
  • Material choices will affect budget – using eco-friendly or high-end finishes may increase costs.

Considering financing options like loans or grants is another important step when planning for ADU construction. Financial assistance could include low-interest loans from banks or credit unions, as well as grants offered by various organizations. It’s wise to research different options available in your area.

Comparing cost benefits with long-term rental income is also crucial when contemplating the investment of building an ADU. While constructing an ADU requires financial resources upfront, renting out that space can provide additional income stream over time. This added benefit should be taken into account while calculating the complete return on investment (ROI).

The Benefits of ADUs

ADUs provide homeowners with a unique opportunity to generate additional income by renting out the space. This can be especially helpful for those looking to offset the cost of their mortgage or simply earn some extra cash. With more and more people seeking affordable rental options, ADUs are becoming an increasingly popular solution.

In addition to providing extra income, ADUs can also increase housing affordability in urban areas where housing is scarce and expensive. By creating smaller, more affordable living spaces within existing neighborhoods, cities can help address the growing demand for affordable housing options while preserving community character and reducing urban sprawl. Overall, investing in an ADU is a financially sound decision that offers both long-term benefits and potential financial gain.

Additional Income

Maximizing your property’s potential is a great way to earn additional income. Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs, are small homes and apartments located on the same lot as an existing dwelling. These can be rented out for extra revenue, making it a smart investment for homeowners looking to generate more money.

If you live in a popular tourist destination, renting out your home through Airbnb or other short-term rental platforms can also provide additional income. Hosting guests allows you to utilize unused space without committing long-term leases.

Short term rentals like Airbnb offer flexibility and convenience which makes them ideal for tourists who prefer authentic experiences when travelling. This trend continues to rise with many hosts earning substantial profits from their properties.

Housing Affordability

Alternative housing options such as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are becoming increasingly popular due to their lower cost than traditional housing options. ADUs also offer a potential increase in property value and equity, making them an attractive investment opportunity. In addition, the affordability of ADUs presents an opportunity for low-income families to become homeowners and build wealth through real estate ownership.

Aging in Place

Downsizing can be a daunting task for anyone, but it becomes especially challenging as we age. ADUs offer a practical solution that allows seniors to downsize while still staying close to family and community. This not only provides emotional support but also opens up opportunities for increased social interaction.

Accessible living spaces are essential in maintaining independence as we age. ADUs allow for customizable design options that meet individual needs, ensuring maximum comfort and mobility. From wheelchair ramps to grab bars in the bathroom, these small yet significant changes make all the difference in promoting autonomy and self-sufficiency for aging adults.

Family Living

Multigenerational living options for extended families are becoming more popular as housing affordability becomes a major issue. Accessory dwelling units, also known as ADUs, offer the perfect solution to accommodate multiple generations within the same property while maintaining privacy and autonomy. Granny flats or in-law units can serve as separate living quarters complete with their own kitchen and bathroom facilities.

With an ADU on your property, you have the flexibility to invite relatives to live with you without sacrificing personal space or privacy. This trend has become increasingly popular among millennials who are looking for affordable housing solutions that allow them to stay close to family members while still maintaining their independence. An ADU provides a win-win situation by offering additional income from rental opportunities and providing safe and comfortable accommodations for loved ones who need care or support.


The increasing demand for affordable housing has become a critical issue in many urban areas. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are emerging as a viable solution that offers multiple benefits. ADUs provide affordable housing options for renters and homeowners, especially in high-cost areas such as Arlington, VA and Alexandria, VA and Montgomery County, MD where traditional housing may be out of reach. Additionally, they offer an opportunity to increase rental income and add value to residential properties.

In addition to addressing the need for affordable housing, ADUs can also have positive impacts on local communities. They can help address issues such as urban sprawl by allowing more people to live closer together while still maintaining their privacy and independence.   They also provide a fantastic option for families and older members of the family to live in close proximity of one another.   This benefit spans across multiple generations.     Furthermore, the construction of these units creates jobs and supports local businesses within the community. Overall, ADUs present an innovative approach that could make significant progress towards meeting the growing need for affordable housing while contributing positively to communities’ growth and development.

Makara ADU specializes in Accessory Dwelling Unit construction and is an expert in ADU feasibility, design and construction in the Washington, DC metro region.   We have built ADUs in Arlington, VA, Alexandria, VA, Montgomery County, MD and Washington, DC.  We handle everything that is involved including the architecture and engineering which will save thousands of dollars and reduce overall time to complete.   Call us today to learn more.