ADU Financing Options: HELOC

Is a HELOC a good option for financing an ADU construction? In this article, learn what a HELOC is, as well as its benefits and drawbacks as a financing method.

Last updated 
August 1, 2023
ADU Financing Options: HELOC

Photo by John Yu

Everything you need to know about financing an ADU with a HELOC

When a homeowner decides to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on their property, one of the first obstacles they must overcome is financing. There are several different financing options for ADUs, each with their respective benefits and drawbacks.

In the following article, we’ll explain the funding option known as a Home Equity Line of Credit (or HELOC) and provide an overview of its pros and cons as a financing method for your ground-up ADU or garage conversion.

What is a HELOC?

A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is a type of loan that allows homeowners to leverage the equity they've built up in their property. Think of it as a flexible line of credit that enables you to borrow against the value of your home as collateral. Unlike a traditional loan—which is paid out as a lump sum—a HELOC lets you withdraw funds as needed, allowing for more flexibility.

Pros of Financing with a HELOC

Financing an accessory dwelling unit build with a HELOC can be a great choice for many homeowners. Here are some of the benefits of Home Equity Lines of Credit:

Access Existing Equity

If you've diligently made payments on your mortgage, or if your home's value has appreciated, you may have built up a considerable amount of home equity. A HELOC enables you to tap into that equity without the need for additional loans or refinancing.


Particularly if you’re working directly with a General Contractor, ADU construction expenses can be unpredictable, with unexpected costs popping up throughout the project. With a HELOC, you can withdraw funds as they’re needed, allowing you the flexibility to manage your construction costs more effectively.

Working with Otto also helps keep unexpected costs to a minimum, as we provide you with a detailed scope of work and clear estimates from the onset of the project.

Lower Interest Rates

Since a HELOC is secured by your home's equity, it often offers comes with interest rates (compared to unsecured loans or credit cards). This can result in lower overall borrowing costs and more manageable monthly payments.

Possible Tax Deductions

In many cases, the interest paid on a HELOC used for home improvements—including ADU construction—may be tax-deductible. Always consult a tax professional for up-to-date information regarding your specific circumstances.

Cons of Financing with a HELOC

Although HELOCs can be excellent funding methods for ADU construction, they’re not without their risks and drawbacks. Here are some of the things you’ll want to consider before deciding to finance your project with a Home Equity Line of Credit:

Risk to Home Equity

It's important to acknowledge that a HELOC uses your home as collateral. As is the case with all loans based on home equity, if you're unable to meet the repayment terms, you may risk losing your home through foreclosure.

Fluctuating Interest Rates

Unlike fixed-rate loans, HELOCs often come with variable interest rates that can change over time. If rates rise significantly, your monthly payments could increase, affecting your ability to manage the loan.

Potential for Overspending

The flexibility of a HELOC can be both a blessing and a curse. It's crucial to draw up a detailed budget and stick to it, as the freedom to withdraw funds may tempt you to overspend and accumulate more debt than intended.

Closing Costs

Similar to any loan, a HELOC may incur closing costs, including appraisal fees, application fees, and other charges. Be sure to factor these costs into your overall budget and financing decision.

Other Financing Options

If a Home Equity Line of Credit doesn’t sound like the best choice for your circumstances, you might want to consider a Home Equity Loan or a Construction Loan. Read our article on ADU financing options to compare different options and decide which is right for you and your project.


A HELOC can be an attractive option for financing a casita construction, as it provides access to your home's equity and flexibility in managing construction costs. However, it's imperative to carefully consider the risks and drawbacks associated with a HELOC, such as potential fluctuations in interest rates and the possible risk to your home equity. Assessing your financial situation, consulting with professionals, and comparing different financing options are crucial steps in making an informed decision.

Remember, building an ADU is a significant investment, so taking the time to explore various financing methods will help ensure the long-term success of your project. If you’re ready to start planning your ADU, contact Otto for a free consultation. We’d love to design the perfect unit to fit your needs—and your budget.

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