ADU stands for Accessory Dwelling Unit, also known as a guest house or garage apartment. Limited in size, they are small homes that serve a variety of needs, from multi-generational housing to rental income, or even as a primary residence.

Can I build an ADU?

If you live in central Austin, the short answer is "probably ". ADU's have been allowed on most urban lots in Austin since 2015. That's why there aren't very many of them, but we are working to change that.

Properties zoned "SF-3" are allowed to build an ADU, but they are not allowed in some other residential zones.

Check your City of Austin zoning here

Site conditions and private deed restrictions can also prohibit ADU's. We provide a complimentary site evaluation that includes the deed restrictions on your property.

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What does it cost?

ADU's are limited to a maximum of 850-1100 square feet, depending on lot size. Despite their small size, they are freestanding, fully functional homes that share many of the same features and amenities as a larger home. A full size ADU typically costs $300,000 or more to build.

There are a variety of financing options for ADU's, typically via a home improvement loan or HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) through a local bank or credit union. This can also include remodeling some or all of the existing home.

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How long does it take?

Our build process starts with a site evaluation to determine what can be built to meet the client's needs. Through partnerships with local architecture firms, we help you design a custom ADU for your lot. We collaborate extensively during the design process and provide specifications, selections and cost estimates along the way.

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ADU's are subject to the same complicated City of Austin regulations as single family homes, including setbacks, impervious cover, tree, and McMansion restrictions. We handle all of the work necessary to secure the permit to begin construction. Permits are typically approved 6-9 months after architectural design begins.

Construction starts once the permit is issued and financing is in place. Due to current material and labor shortages, construction takes about 12 months. In total, you can expect 18-24 months from start to finish for a new ADU.

Why are we ADU experts?

  • We believe that ADU's are one of the best ways for people to live, stay and grow in any neighborhood. At Riverside Homes, we have had a lot of practice building custom homes and ADU's exclusively in central Austin for the past 20 years. Our homes are designed and built to be easy to live in and easy to maintain, and they are certified as some of the most energy efficient in the city.
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Interested in building an ADU?

We are happy to provide answers to the questions above tailored specifically to your property and your needs.

Try us at, 512-473-9930 or via the form below.

We respond to all inquiries within 24 hrs, but try to reply the same day.

Fill out my online form.