What is the Difference Between an ADU and a Tiny Home?

With the increasing population being highly disproportionate to the availability of housing spaces, newer solutions like ADUs and tiny houses are gaining popularity. The process of setting up these units is also becoming easier. You can now call the best ADU builders in Northern California and fix your best time to set up your ADU in your backyard. Here are a few differences between the two to help you decide between the two.

Everything You Need to Know About Designing an ADU | Architectural Digest

What is an ADU?

An ADU or an accessory dwelling unit is a fully functioning small-scale secondary living space placed within the bounds of your housing plan with assistance from reputed ADU builders. Most commonly, homeowners set up these units in their backyards, either attached or detached from their homes. These units are not mobile and can serve as fully functional homes for at least one individual.

Many homeowners erect such a unit in their backyard and rent it out to reliable tenants, making it a form of income. The three common types of ADUs include

  1. Interior ADUs
  2. Attached ADUs
  3. Detached ADUs

Your ADU builders should be able to suggest the best possible option that you should go with. This decision is made based on your requirements, available space, and the regulations laid down by the authorities.

Pros and Cons

  1. It stands at a notably lower cost when compared to building a new house from scratch.
  2. It allows you to make better use of your available space and ground within your house plans.
  3. It serves as a long-term investment as it directly adds to the property value.
  4. It provides an option for a private space for your younger family members to allow a degree of independence.
  5. It acts as an alternative form of assisted living.
  6. An easier and quicker form of interior project and remodeling work.
  7. An ADU unit doubles up as an extended source of income and can help stabilize your cash flow. This can be a great advantage for elderly homeowners.
  8. ADU builders do not require any specific permits. It simply has to adhere to the local guidelines and codes.

What is a Tiny Home?

The type of tiny home you choose highly depends on your residence area. Small homes are alternative housings that are not present in the bounds of the existing home. This can either be

  1. THOW- Tiny Home On Wheels
  2. THOF- Tiny Home On Foundation

Tiny homes also come with a good amount of legal preparations you will have to go through. Though you will not be required to submit any plans like in the case of ADU builders, setting up a THOW requires you to get a few permits.

Pros and Cons

  1. Tiny homes are way cheaper than your ADU blocks. However, they are much smaller. This can be a merit or demerit based on how you choose to look at it.
  2. RVs and mobile homes require special permits and licenses based on how you use your vehicle.
  3. These setups are very much vulnerable to adversities in the environment. You will have to think and move quickly in those situations, which is not a concern in the case of ADUs.
  4. The value of a tiny home is prone to depreciate over time.


Apart from the housing crisis, many investors and smart homeowners consider this a way to increase their property value and possible resale value. Though the main factor influencing your choice should be your needs, weighing down the pros and cons clearly shows that ADUs are advantageous. However, RVs should be a better call RVs should be a better call if you are looking to travel a lot.

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