You see them popping up everywhere; splattering your social media dashboards and filling your timelines. While the tiny home revolution may just seem to be taking off as a trendy, minimalist choice, tiny homes actually have a long history that predates the Instagram fad.

Tiny home additions to your property, more formerly known as Accessory Dwelling Units, have been around for decades. ADUs have stood the test of time as a worthwhile investment for property owners. They can serve a vast array of purposes, from housing aging relative to generating rental income.

There are certain factors you should carefully consider before breaking ground on this home addition project.

1. Understand Local Regulations

For each state and city, different regulations need to be followed for ADU projects in that region. Fire codes and energy efficiency standards can affect the planning of an ADU, and some unfortunate factors may disqualify you from building an addition to your property at all.

Contractors are equipped with all the local knowledge you’ll need when designing a tiny home addition, but it’s a great idea to seek out important information on your own as well. You can contact your city government about local regulations or check out sites like for thoroughly updated guides. The more you know upfront, the better off you’ll be as you begin your building project.

2. Thoughtfully Plan Site Access

Access is a crucial consideration when designing an ADU. Above all else, plan for safety.

With any tiny home, you will need to ensure that there are accessible exits in case of an emergency. There should be an unobstructed exit and a clear path to the street.

Access considerations also improve the day-to-day ease of living in the space. If an entryway is located in a tricky spot, such as squished in an alleyway between buildings, it may be harder for elderly folks or people with disabilities to inhabit the space.

Planning out site access thoughtfully means more people can take advantage of the space. This in turn can increase your return on investment down the line.

3. Think About Utility Connections

For an ADU to be truly inhabitable, it’ll need reliable connections to electrical and plumbing services. While regulations may differ from state to state, in many cases it is perfectly acceptable for ADUs to hook up to existing utility connections of the original dwelling.

If you don’t need an additional meter, water can be drawn directly from the primary pipes. Simple edits can be made to connect gas stoves and heaters to the primary gas line.

If you have a septic tank, you may need to contact the local health department and check the capacity before connecting it to a new unit.

4. Ponder Privacy

The privacy needs of the ADU depend on whom you think will be living there.

If you are building a tiny home as a vacation spot for friends or as housing for a parent, a shared backyard space may be ideal. If you are hoping to rent the space, it may be better to build a sense of separation through strategically placed shrubbery and privacy screens.

Final Thoughts on Tiny Homes

An Accessory Dwelling Unit can increase property value and enhance the quality of life for friends and family, but it is not a project that should be rushed into without diligent planning.

With intentional design and an understanding of local regulations, the addition of a tiny home to your property can be lucrative.  However, this means more investment.