ADUs in Oregon: How to Increase Your Property's Value and Functionality

ADU cottage home nestled in back yard with trees

Expanding Your Home's Potential with an ADU in Oregon

Are you an Oregon homeowner looking to maximize your property's value and functionality? Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a versatile solution for homeowners seeking extra living space, rental income, or accommodations for family members. At Heart & Home Real Estate, we understand the unique benefits and challenges of adding an ADU to your property, especially in the thriving Eugene market.

Oregon ADUs Highlights & Summary

  • Oregon ADU Regulations: Learn about the zoning, size, height, setback, parking, and owner occupancy requirements for ADUs in Oregon, as well as the design guidelines, utility connections, and permitting process.
  • Local ADU Rules in Eugene: Discover how Eugene's ADU regulations differ from the state's, including specific requirements for owner occupancy, parking, maximum occupancy, development and design standards, and neighborhood-specific restrictions.
  • Tiny Homes as ADUs in Oregon: Learn about the potential for tiny homes to be classified as ADUs in Oregon, and understand the specific criteria and regulations that apply.
  • Real Estate Benefits of ADUs: Explore how adding an ADU can increase your property value and provide rental income potential, and learn about considerations for buyers and sellers of homes with ADUs.
  • Financing and Building Your ADU: Get insights into the construction costs, financing options, and the process of working with contractors and designers to plan and build your ADU efficiently.
  • Maximizing Your ADU's Potential: Discover popular uses for ADUs in Oregon, such as multigenerational living, rental opportunities, short-term rentals, home offices, and guest accommodations.
  • Expert Guidance from Heart & Home Real Estate: Learn how our team of experienced real estate professionals can help you navigate the ADU process, from understanding regulations and maximizing your property's value to designing and building your dream ADU.


Understanding ADU Regulations in Oregon

Oregon has embraced the concept of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) as a way to increase housing options and make the most of existing properties. The state has set forth a range of regulations to ensure that ADUs are built safely and in compliance with local zoning laws.

H3 Zoning, Size, and Height Requirements

  • Zoning: ADUs are allowed in all residential zones, including single-family areas.
  • Size: The maximum size of an ADU is 800 square feet or 75% of the primary dwelling's living area, whichever is smaller.
  • Height: ADUs cannot exceed 20 feet or the height of the primary dwelling.

Oregon's regulations strike a balance between allowing homeowners to build ADUs and maintaining the character of existing neighborhoods. 

Setbacks, Parking, and Owner Occupancy

  • Setbacks: ADUs must adhere to the same setback requirements as the primary dwelling in the zone.
  • Parking: No additional off-street parking is required for ADUs.
  • Owner Occupancy: Cities and counties cannot require owner occupancy for properties with ADUs.

These rules make it easier for homeowners to add an ADU to their property without facing burdensome requirements. 

Design, Utilities, and Permits

  • Design: Some cities may have specific design guidelines to ensure ADUs blend in with the primary dwelling and neighborhood aesthetics.
  • Utility Connections: ADUs can share utility connections with the primary dwelling or have separate connections.
  • Permits: Building permits are required for ADU construction, and the unit must meet all applicable building codes.

Working with experienced professionals can help homeowners navigate the design and permitting process smoothly.

ADU Home wood Cedar siding


Local ADU Regulations in Eugene vs. Oregon

While Oregon state law provides a general framework for ADU regulations, it's essential to understand that local jurisdictions, such as the City of Eugene, may have their own specific rules and restrictions. Eugene's ADU regulations differ from the state's in several key areas:

Owner Occupancy

Oregon state law prohibits cities and counties from requiring owner occupancy for properties with ADUs. However, the City of Eugene has an owner occupancy requirement, mandating that the property owner must live on the property in either the primary dwelling or the ADU.

Parking Requirements

Eugene's parking requirements for ADUs are more specific than the state's. If the ADU is within a quarter mile of a frequent transit route, no additional parking is required. If not, one additional on-site parking space must be provided.

Maximum Occupancy

The City of Eugene limits the maximum occupancy of an ADU to three people, regardless of the unit's size. This restriction is unique to Eugene and is not part of the state's ADU regulations.

Development and Design Standards

Eugene has its own set of development and design standards for ADUs. These include specific requirements for the maximum gross floor area, height limitations, setbacks, roof pitch, window placement, and exterior materials. These standards aim to ensure that ADUs are compatible with the primary dwelling and the surrounding neighborhood.

Neighborhood-Specific Restrictions

Certain neighborhoods within Eugene, such as Amazon Neighbors, Fairmount Neighbors, and South University Neighborhood Association, have additional restrictions on ADUs. In these areas, the maximum size of an ADU is limited to 600 square feet on lots under 9,000 square feet and 800 square feet on larger lots. These neighborhood-specific size limits are more restrictive than the citywide standard of 800 square feet or 10% of the lot area.

When considering an ADU project, always consult with your local planning department, a knowledgeable real estate professional, and an experienced ADU builder to understand the specific requirements in your area. By doing so, you can avoid costly mistakes, streamline the construction process, and create an ADU that meets your needs while adhering to local regulations.

 ADU Home in grass


Tiny Homes as ADUs in Oregon

Tiny homes have gained popularity in recent years as a potential solution to housing affordability and a way to downsize and simplify living spaces. In Oregon, tiny homes can be classified as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in some cases, depending on the specific regulations and zoning codes of the jurisdiction where the tiny home is located.

To be considered an ADU, a tiny home in Oregon must typically meet the following criteria:

  • Location: The tiny home must be situated on the same lot as a primary single-family dwelling.
  • Utilities: The tiny home must be connected to the same utility lines (water, electricity, and sewer) as the primary dwelling, or it must have its own utility connections that comply with local regulations.
  • Zoning compliance: The tiny home must adhere to the local zoning regulations for ADUs, including size limitations, setback requirements, and design standards.
  • Building codes: The tiny home must be built to comply with the relevant building codes and safety standards for habitable structures.

Some cities in Oregon, such as Eugene, have adopted zoning codes and regulations that are more friendly to tiny homes as ADUs. These cities may have specific provisions that allow tiny homes to be permitted as ADUs when they meet certain requirements, such as minimum size, foundation type, and utility connections. If you're considering building a tiny home as an ADU in Oregon, it's crucial to research the specific regulations and zoning codes in your location.


The Real Estate Impact of ADUs

Adding an ADU to your property can have significant real estate benefits. Here's what you need to know:

Increased Property Value and Rental Income Potential

  • Property Value: Homes with ADUs often command higher prices in the real estate market.
  • Rental Income: ADUs can provide a steady stream of rental income, helping offset mortgage payments or providing extra cash flow.

In the Eugene real estate market, where demand for housing is high, an ADU can be a smart investment for homeowners looking to maximize their property's value & income potential. 

Considerations for Buyers and Sellers

  • Buyers: When purchasing a home with an ADU, ensure that the unit is properly permitted and up to code.
  • Sellers: If you're selling a home with an ADU, highlight the benefits and potential uses of the extra space to attract buyers.

At Heart & Home Real Estate, our team of realtors can guide you through the process of buying or selling a home with an ADU, ensuring that you make informed decisions every step of the way.

 ADU home in yard


Financing and Constructing Your ADU

Building an ADU is a significant investment, but there are several financing options available to help make your dream a reality.

Construction Costs and Financing Options

The cost of building an ADU in Oregon can vary depending on factors such as size, materials, and location. On average, homeowners can expect to spend between $100,000 and $200,000 on construction.

Financing options for ADUs include:

  • Cash savings
  • Home equity loans or lines of credit
  • Cash-out refinancing
  • Construction loans
  • Private lending

Working with Contractors and Designers

To ensure your ADU meets all requirements and fits seamlessly with your property, it's essential to work with experienced contractors and designers who specialize in ADU construction.

Look for professionals who:

  • Are licensed and insured
  • Have experience building ADUs
  • Can provide references and examples of their work
  • Understand local zoning laws and permitting requirements 

Planning and Construction Timeline

Building an ADU typically takes between 3-6 months, depending on the complexity of the project and any permitting or approval delays.

To streamline the process:

  • Start with a clear plan and budget
  • Obtain necessary permits and approvals early
  • Communicate regularly with your contractor and designer
  • Be prepared for unexpected issues or delays

With careful planning and the right team in place, you can bring your ADU vision to life efficiently.



Making the Most of Your ADU

An ADU can serve many purposes, from providing extra living space for family members to generating rental income. Here are some popular uses for ADUs in Oregon:

Multigenerational Living

Many homeowners build ADUs to accommodate aging parents or adult children who need a place to live. An ADU offers privacy and independence while keeping family close by. 

Rental Opportunities

With the high demand for housing especially in Eugene Oregon, building an ADU for real estate investment purposes can provide a steady stream of income. Whether you opt for a long-term tenant or short-term vacation rentals, an ADU can help offset your mortgage payments or provide extra cash flow.

Short-Term Rentals and Airbnb

Oregon's thriving tourism industry makes short-term rentals a popular option for ADU owners. By listing your ADU on platforms like Airbnb, you can tap into the growing demand for unique and comfortable accommodations. Short-term rentals can offer flexibility and the potential for higher rental rates, especially during peak travel seasons. However, be sure to check your local regulations and HOA rules regarding short-term rentals before pursuing this option.

Home Office or Workspace

If you work from home or need a dedicated space for hobbies or creative pursuits, an ADU can be the perfect solution. You can design the space to meet your specific needs and enjoy a separate area to focus on your work or passions.

Guest Accommodations

An ADU can also serve as a comfortable and private space for guests. Whether you have friends or family visiting from out of town or want to offer a unique Airbnb experience, an ADU provides a welcoming place for guests to stay.

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Your Real Estate Experts

At Heart & Home Real Estate, we understand the ins and outs of building and owning an ADU in Oregon. Our team of experienced professionals is here to guide you through every step of the process. With years of experience in the Oregon real estate market, we have a deep understanding of local zoning laws, permitting requirements, and real estate market trends. We can help you make informed decisions about building an ADU and maximizing your property's value.

Whether you're building an ADU for personal use or as an investment, our goal is to help you maximize your property's value. We'll provide insights into market trends, help you make smart design choices, and guide you through the process of renting or selling your property with an ADU.

Adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit to your Oregon property can be a game-changer, providing extra living space, rental income potential, and increased property value. At Heart & Home Real Estate, we're here to be your partner every step of the way.

If you're ready to explore the possibilities of an ADU for your Oregon home, contact Heart & Home Real Estate today. We'll help you understand the regulations, potential benefits, and steps involved in building an ADU, and provide the guidance and support you need to make your vision a reality.

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