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The Next Chapter: Empty Nesters Downsizing with ADUs


The empty nest syndrome, a phase of life where parents find themselves with an empty or nearly empty home as their children leave for college or start their own lives, often prompts reflection and consideration of the next steps. One increasingly popular option for empty nesters is the construction of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) on their property. These auxiliary units provide an opportunity to downsize while simultaneously generating rental income from the main home. In this blog, we will explore the motivations that drive empty nesters to build ADUs and how this transition can bring financial benefits and newfound freedom.

1. Financial Liberation

One of the primary motivations for empty nesters to build ADUs is financial liberation. Downsizing to a smaller ADU and renting out the larger main home can significantly reduce monthly expenses. This freed-up income can be used to boost retirement savings, travel, or enjoy other experiences that may have been postponed during the child-rearing years.

2. Efficient Use of Space

An empty nest often means that a substantial portion of the family home remains unused. ADUs allow empty nesters to make more efficient use of their property by converting underutilized space into a valuable rental unit. This not only optimizes space but also minimizes the need for upkeep and maintenance of a larger home.

3. Simplifying Homeownership

As homeowners age, the responsibilities of maintaining a large property can become burdensome. Empty nesters may find that downsizing to an ADU simplifies homeownership. Smaller spaces require less maintenance, making it easier to manage tasks such as yard work, cleaning, and repairs.

4. Accessible Living

Some empty nesters may choose to build an ADU designed with accessibility features to accommodate potential mobility challenges in the future. This proactive approach allows them to age in place comfortably while renting out their main home.

5. Travel and Adventure

Many empty nesters are eager to embark on new adventures, travel, and explore new interests. By downsizing and generating rental income from the main home, they have the flexibility and financial means to pursue their passions and check items off their bucket list.

6. Strengthening Retirement Savings

Empty nesters may be looking to boost their retirement savings. The rental income from the main home can serve as a supplemental source of income, allowing them to contribute more to their retirement accounts and investments.

7. Offering a Home to Others

Some empty nesters see ADUs as an opportunity to provide a home to individuals or families in need of affordable housing. This altruistic motivation combines downsizing with the desire to make a positive impact on their community.

8. Streamlined Living

Downsizing to an ADU often leads to a more streamlined and organized lifestyle. Empty nesters can declutter and simplify their possessions, focusing on what truly matters to them and eliminating the excess.

9. Enhancing Property Value

The presence of an ADU can enhance the overall property value. This can be an attractive prospect for empty nesters who may consider selling their property in the future. An ADU's rental income potential can increase the property's marketability.

10. Renewed Independence

Empty nesters who have spent years raising children may relish the opportunity to rediscover their independence. ADUs provide a separate, self-contained living space that allows for personal freedom while still enjoying the companionship of family members in close proximity.


Empty nesters looking to downsize and rent out their main homes by building ADUs are motivated by a desire for financial freedom, a more efficient use of space, simplified homeownership, and opportunities for travel and adventure. This transition represents a transformative chapter in their lives, allowing them to fully embrace the possibilities that come with an empty nest.

ADUs not only offer practical solutions for downsizing but also present a chance for empty nesters to reimagine their lifestyles, pursue their passions, and strengthen their financial security for retirement. As they embark on this new journey, they discover that downsizing with ADUs brings not only financial benefits but also newfound freedom and a renewed sense of independence.


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