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Things to Know About Building an ADU in Montana

The population boom in the state of Montana leaves the door open for a great option more homeowners should take advantage of: building an ADU. An ADU can help you add value to your property, and potentially collect rent to help you pay your mortgage if you choose to lease it out. But what is an ADU exactly, and how can you build one on your property? Here’s our step-by-step guide.

additional dwelling unit (ADU)


What is an ADU? 

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a living space, either detached or connected, that shares a lot with another house. The key is that they exist on the same lot as the main house, and the two can’t be bought or sold separately. 


Why Should You Build One? 

People in many different situations can benefit from an ADU. Children of aging parents might prefer a little separation for their families while still being close by (the typical mother-in-law apartment), or homeowners might be looking to expand the value of their property while paying off more of their mortgage by having a renter living in an ADU. Some parents might like to hire full-time childcare help and be able to offer onsite housing. Alternatively, it’s a great way to give adult children a leg up in their living situation while having more privacy. 


a kitchen inside an ADU


Review Your Zoning and District Requirements 

The ease of building an ADU varies depending on the community you live in. In some places, you may find stricter regulations in place, and in others the pressures of rapid population growth mean that communities are relaxing restrictions to make higher population density possible. Bozeman recently updated regulations to make it easier for homeowners to build ADUs, as a part of the uptick in housing demand in the city. 

You can find zoning information on most county and city websites. If yours isn’t available with a quick Google search, you may have to call the courthouse directly. You can learn more about Bozeman, Helena building requirements, and Butte zoning by following these links. 


Start Thinking About Design 

How you want to design your ADU depends on your needs, its intended use, and your property size and location. For some, putting in an apartment over an existing garage may be a possibility, or converting unused space. For others, you may need to start from scratch. 


a woman drinking coffee, looking about a window from inside an ADU


Get an Estimate 

ADUs can vary significantly in cost, depending on design, existing structures, materials and time, just like any other project. But unlike other builds, there’s a lot less information out there about cost. It’s best to get quotes right out of the gate so you can plan how you’ll pay for your ADU. A home equity line of credit (HELOC) may be a possibility for you, depending on how much equity you have in your home currently. You may also qualify for other loan types. To find out more, contact an RMCU mortgage specialist


Contract With a Pro

It pays to work with a professional on a project like this, especially one who can help you navigate the rules and regulations in your community. Reach out to local contractors to set the ball rolling on your project, and get ready to enjoy the benefits of your ADU. 

For more help financing home improvements to help your property become an even better investment, contact an RMCU expert. 


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