With the rising popularity of ADUs, it is easy to look at them through rose-colored glasses. Sure, having passive income or greatly increasing your home value is great. But the process and the end results aren’t all upsides. There are downsides to building an ADU and it is important to know them before you take the plunge and start building. Here are some downsides to consider.

1. Rental Property Problems

Having a rental property can be a dream, or it can be a real struggle. Some people find that their lifestyle does not work well with being a rental property owner. You have to be on call for any tenant emergencies and cannot just ask a tenant to leave if there is a clash of personality.

Those who invite family to live with them may find themselves facing similar challenges. The idea of living with your family may sound great, but some tension may arise. While having a full separate space, as in an ADU as opposed to a JADU, may help keep boundaries, the adjustment may still be challenging. If you end up having your family move out, you’ll still have the ADU space.

2. Loss of Storage Space or Green Space

When you build an ADU, the space has to come from something. Typically, homeowners convert their garages or take up space from their lawn in order to accommodate the ADU. Once built over, that space is gone, and the storage or gardens you had there can’t be used. Of course, for those who have ample storage or green space on their property, this is less of an issue.

Also, you should be wary about taking some space from your existing home to dedicate to the ADU. Unless your home already amply meets your size needs, you may regret giving up some square footage.

3. Financing the Project

Roughly half of the people who build ADUs do so with cash. If you have this kind of capital on hand, financing the project may be simpler than those who need to turn to other means to finance the build, but it still isn’t “easy” per se. That’s money that you could always spend elsewhere.

For those who need to turn to a bank or family and friends in order to afford their ADU, then financing can be a challenge. Shopping around for the best interest rate and other terms is time-consuming, and it is best to do it with professional advice.

4. Dealing with Permits

While recent laws have sought to lax building requirements for ADUs across California, dealing with the building permit office is still not pleasant. It can be stress-inducing to think of what could happen if your plans are rejected or need to change significantly. That’s why it is important to work with reputable ADU builders who will handle the permit process for you. They should know what your local office will accept and make sure that your plans conform to guidelines before they apply.