Having an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is perfect for gaining part-time, passive income. Vacation rentals are good options if you have a busy schedule. Your rental is also more competitive since hotels can be costly and crowded. However, it’s essential to choose a design that stands out to guests. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Consider Features for a Quick Turnover

For short-term rentals, you want to flip the space quickly. Decorate with closed cabinets to hide visual clutter. Consider lower storage options to save time dusting the top of high shelves. Another tip is to have convenient access to the ADU.

Instead of a fully detached unit, have one that’s partially connected. Cover the connected walkway with an awning during the warmer summer months. That way, you can easily carry fresh towels and toiletries back and forth. Having an in-unit laundry machine saves you some time as well. Plus, it’s a selling point for potential renters.

2. Make the Space Private

Since you may not necessarily build a strong relationship with your tenants, you want to give them privacy. They want to feel like they’re on vacation and may prefer limited contact. Create this sense of separation through design elements. Don’t have windows looking directly into their private areas, like the bedroom.

Also, take advantage of natural landscaping, such as trees or fences. Another idea is to limit the number of doors that provide direct access to the ADU. Be sure to soundproof your rental with soundproofing materials, too, such as acoustic foam panels or insulation. That way, guests can play music or talk on the phone freely.

3. Have a Clean Space

Having a clean and cozy room is important to renters. So, spend a day scrubbing down surfaces and changing the sheets. Also, remove excess items, such as old clothes. Make sure to sanitize the surfaces to protect against germs like COVID-19.

While cleaning, keep an eye out for any damage or missing items from previous guests. In addition, test out the appliances and leave plenty of toilet paper.

A well-decorated but decluttered space also goes a long way. Invest in durable furniture and plenty of storage options. Also, take advantage of the lighting. Add statement pieces like a chandelier and switch to eco-friendly LED bulbs.

4. Highlight Your Location

The location of the property is a selling point for potential renters. Some out-of-towners want to play tourist for the day. So, if you’re near parks or lakes, let renters know. These are fun summer activities for your guests to enjoy. Another thing to highlight is if your home is near a popular attraction, such as the San Diego Zoo.

Along with fun sights and destinations, some renters prefer locations near grocery stores or dining. Point out these local spots as well. If you’re near a public transportation system, encourage your guests to use it. This saves them money on rental cars and is better for the environment.

5. Use a Remote Keypad System

This creates more convenience for you and your tenants. It prevents renters from having to be responsible for a key. You then won’t get those late-night calls that your guests are locked out of their room.

It also allows your guests to be more independent and check in and out on their own time. Another perk is that you won’t need to change out the locks for each guest.

6. Consider Having a Detached ADU

A detached ADU can be more valuable. Since these are larger properties, they are more attractive to potential renters. Another perk is that they offer more privacy for both residents and their families.

You can place these anywhere on-site, so pick a spot with a nice view. For example, place it across from bodies of water or scenic routes like the Pacific Coast Highway. Also, consider building it over a garage to keep that valuable feature intact and save space.

7. Decorate With a Universal Design

You may have a variety of guests, from kids to older adults. So, you want to create a space that is easily accessible and appealing for all ages and abilities. Start with the front door and add a wide front pathway with non-slip stone. The landing should accommodate those with a wheelchair and the person accompanying them.

Have a front door at least 30 inches wide to fit the wheelchair. Inside, install grab bars in low-threshold showers and near toilets. Consider remote-controlled windows for easy use. Switch to lever doors and textured flooring to avoid slips and falls. For families, create a designated play area with low-level light switches.

8. Add Energy-Efficient Features

With sunny weather, adding solar panels reduces electricity bills and your carbon footprint. Add these to the roof for cleaner energy consumption. These panels rely on renewable energy, reducing the use of fossil fuels. Just remember that they have a higher upfront cost, but tax incentives are available.

Other appealing features include Energy Star-rated appliances and a tankless water heater. You can also add smart devices, like thermostats, to the home. They can keep the space at a comfortable temperature and reduce energy waste. Here are a few more smart products to consider:

  • Speakers
  • Security camera
  • Washer and dryer
  • Refrigerator
  • Lightbulbs

9. Add a Patio Area

Having a backyard space for guests can increase the value of your rental. During the summer, your tenants will want an outside space to enjoy. Adding a patio can give them a private spot to enjoy with friends and family.

You can also add a fire pit or outdoor kitchen if you have the room and budget. Simple decor can include wooden chairs or hammocks and lanterns. Another idea is adding a stone pathway with flowers leading to the door.

10. Have Multiple Bedrooms

If you have a larger unit, consider creating multiple bedroom options. A property with multiple bedrooms is highly valuable to renters. They may have larger families or want to invite guests for a few nights.

Highlighting your multiple-bedroom ADU can help win them over. Check your local laws to see the size requirement for bedrooms. The minimum size is usually at least 70 to 80 square feet. Here are a few other regulations to follow:

  • Two ways of exiting the space
  • Minimum ceiling height
  • Minimum window size
  • A heating and cooling element

How to Create the Perfect Vacation Rental

ADUs are great additions to your home and provide interesting rental opportunities. Living in sunny California provides the perfect backdrop for vacation rentals, so consider these tips to create an attractive and functional property.